by Gabe Lyons, Bethel Christian Writers

Prayer – one of the foundational tenets of a Christian Life. When I was young, Dad, who was Jewish, and Mom, who was Episcopalian, would deposit me at church on Sunday mornings, drive away, and then retrieve me when the service was over. I was left alone to contemplate the confusing Catechism lessons, and endure the pain of kneeling on a hard wooden bench for what seemed like hours. I couldn’t wait to get home and tear off my shirt, tie and long-pants, garb myself in shorts, and run outside to play. 

But I did learn the basics of prayer, starting with “Our Father” and progressing through the Praising, Confessing, Asking and Thanking. I admit, I did a lot more Asking than Confessing. It was all very selfish. I even asked for many miracles, both major and minor, none of which were ever answered to my puerile satisfaction. 

As I got older, I joined another religious organization with different beliefs. This brought about some fundamental questions which caused me to pray regarding their answers. I asked my neighbors, who belonged to the same faith, if they could guide me in my quest. They queried me regarding my prayer life, but when I told them that the answers were not forthcoming, they immediately suggested that; (a) I hadn’t prayed long or hard enough; (b) my prayers were going down (yikes!), not up or; (c) I was praying for the wrong reasons. 

I was alarmed that praying could be so complex—the ‘going down’ part had me very concerned—and decided that it was in my best interest to seek answers elsewhere. 

For a long while I drifted aimlessly on the ocean of religious dogma. Then, one day, a preacher spoke on a very logical, easy to understand, message regarding prayer. 

“When you pray”, he stated, “think of it as simply using your phone to dial in directly to God.” His message went on to state that there were no busy signals, no numbered options or languages to select, no screeching musical interludes, and certainly never a, ‘Your business is very important to us; your call will be answered shortly; the approximate wait time is an eternity of minutes; please stay on the line for the next available representative.’ 

“Then,” he continued, “pray as you feel led to do, and when you get to your final ‘Amen’, hang up your Prayer Phone. The one difference—and it’s a big one—is that when you hang up, God Does Not. He’s still on the line, still listening, always awaiting your next call. His phone never needs charging, doesn’t depend on cell towers—it’s always on.” 

That was an Aha! Moment for me. What else would you expect from the Creator of the Universe? It’s a relief to think of prayer as simply a conversation, an open, honest discussion with the the great I Am; a frank discussion with a patient, loving friend. 

So, go ahead, pick up your phone and dial 463—that spells GOD on the number template. God is 4 you, on day 6 He created us in His image, and 3 stands for the Trinity. Voice your concerns and fears, confess your sins and doubts, ask for your needs and wishes, give thanks for the abundance in your life, and praise Him. Don’t be afraid, don’t hold back, because He can handle it all. 

Now I can’t say when, or how, or if you’ll get the answer you want; that is way beyond my purview. I just know that He’s listening, He wants what’s best for us, and He loves us. 

What an opportunity to pick up your ‘phone’ during the 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, with assurance you have a direct line to your Heavenly Father. Pray with confidence and thankfulness that 2023 will be filled with Peace and Purpose. 

Lord I pray, let us not only Rest in Peace when we’re gone, but lead us also to Live in Peace while we’re alive. Amen.