“The Laws of Prayer” // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

saying_graceSaying grace before meals has been a Wilson family ritual for as long as I can remember.  We always pause, and someone speaks a few words of thanks before digging in.

I grew up with a poem prayer:  “God is great. . . God is good. . . let us thank him for our food.  By his hands we all are fed, give us Lord, our daily bread.”

In a moment of courage, my brother, Steve, ventured a different prayer over dinner once:  “Rub-a-dub-dub.  Thanks for the grub!”  I am not sure if Daddy was frowning or smiling at the “amen.”  It seemed like he was doing both.

One time, my brother, Wayne, was horrified when he was asked to pray over a meal that looked terribly unappetizing.  How could he possibly express thanks for this?  It would be hypocritical.  The best he could muster was, “Dear Lord, help us not to get sick!”

Not long ago, when our family sat down for dinner, I couldn’t remember whether or not anyone had returned thanks.  “Have we prayed?” I asked.   Everybody looked blank.  “I’m not sure,” they replied.

Then it dawned on me.  There is more to praying than saying words with your eyes closed.

Prayer is a divine connection with the Great Creator of the universe. . . the Source of all Love and Life.  He’s the one who flung stars into space, and knows the deepest thoughts and intents of every human heart.

When the prophet Isaiah encountered God, he trembled and said, “Woe is me!  I am undone!”  When Moses encountered God, his face radiated in the afterglow.  When the Apostle Paul encountered God, he fell off his horse like a dead man.

If we had really prayed — really encountered God — before dinner, then at least one of us would certainly have remembered it!

Not long ago, I discovered four laws of prayer shared by the great Free Methodist pastor, Forman Lincicome, which help us know if we have really prayed.

  1.  The Law of Need:“We will never really pray until we feel the urgent need of something that only God can give.
  1.  The Law of Detachment: “Go into your closet and shut the door.”  Prayer is not a spectator sport.
  1.  The Law of Abiding: “The right kind of prayer requires the right kind of person.”
  1.  The Law of Earnestness: “God has not promised to hear half-hearted, frost-bitten prayers.”  We will find God when we seek Him with all our hearts.


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