It is one of the cornerstones and foundational pillars of our faith, practiced by the prophets of old, the apostles of Christ, and even Jesus Himself. There has not been a man, nor will there ever be, who has ascended so high in his spiritual walk, who has reached such a level of maturity, that he no longer needs to pray.
On the contrary, the more mature a soul, the more in tune with God, the more time he will spend in prayer and supplication before the heavenly Father. It is a sanctified fellowship, an intimate communion, prayer is our means of communicating with God. Prayer is an intrinsic, natural and divine practice of all true believers, and every one sees the benefits and virtues of prayer in their daily lives.
Nowadays, it seems men no longer prepare themselves spiritually before they enter into the presence of He who is thrice holy, because they are more concerned with how the viewing public, and the adoring fans perceive them, or whether their neck ware clashes with the blue screen in the background.
The appreciation and applause of mortals, due to a well crafted and laborious prayer seems to be more important to some, than sincerely pouring out their hearts before an omniscient God. There are countless thoughts going through one's mind, such as be careful not to cry you'll smudge the makeup; don't raise your hands, because some may misinterpret it as aggression; don't raise your voice, you saw what happened to Howard Dean; use platitudes, generalize, be articulate, pray for blessing. Project an image, one that is marketable; don't squint, seem sincere even though your words might not be; don't offend the other faiths present, and the list goes on. Thoughts race through the minds of those blinded by the cameras, but seldom do these thoughts center on God. It's okay though, you're getting face time on national television, so after you've read the fine print, and prepared a prayer that reads more like a speech, close your eyes adopt a pious stance, and pray.
A mystification of truth has been brought about by fear of solitude and fear of mysticism in today's modern age. The truth has been emptied of its personal and transcendental content, and replaced with material and visible things.
Spirituality is no longer a pursuit, or the desire of the regenerate soul, but a topic of debate on oddly predictable talk shows, where tempers are heated, but not by the sacred fire, by the flames of self, and ardent support of our particular denomination.
It seems no one is rightly able to diagnose the disease from which this generation suffers, even though we are overwhelmed and overrun by counselors, support groups, psychologists, life coaches and mentors, who prove themselves incapable of leading anyone to the much sought after liberty.
Our souls are weighed and measured, taken apart piece by piece, prodded, investigated, so much so that all our aspirations and the remaining shallow gasps of hope are suffocated in the dark chaos of confusion this world has become.
The feeling of hopelessness that follows us into our sleeping hours, is so overwhelming that we start to believe nothing short of the flesh and blood presence of the One who once walked among us, can soothe our fears and revive our withering hopes.
Here we are, men and women of the twenty first century, watching with amazement as religious edifices are being overrun, a great mass chanting in unanimity, 'there's got to be something more, this hollowness is unnatural, and nothing has filled it thus far.' The statistics prove that men are searching, the question is, are they finding what they have been searching for?
Christian denominations of every size and philosophy, as well as various religions and dubious sects are angling for fish, using the reassurance that they possess the answer to the question, 'where is God, and how can we find Him', as irresistible bait to so many consumed by emptiness.
The evidence however, does not support their claims, and though many have been force fed a passive, passionless, empty religion until they were ready to heave, the hollowness remains. The money, the liberty tho choose our own level of morality, the fame and the compromise haven't satiated the hunger, they merely masked it for a short time, then it returned, more intense than ever.
So long have the promises gone unfulfilled that some are beginning to wonder if those almost angelic faces, who in times past spent countless hours in solitude, communicating with the Almighty One, are just a figment of our imagination, a naive portrayal of men and women who in the end turned out to be made from the same clump of earth as ourselves.
Others still, have adopted a grimmer theory, in that God has long forgotten us, and the once promises gifts and intimacy have been raised up so high, that stretch as we might, they are continually out of our reach. I've heard it one too many times, from people who profess Christ, accompanied with the shrug of the shoulders and the arching of the eyebrows, 'God just doesn't do that anymore. Those times are past.'
The truth is equally simple as it is painful for some to acknowledge. Prayer still works, God still answers, power is still to be had, and the gifts are still being poured out in abundance, but men are no longer willing to do what is necessary to obtain them.
Is it too much to ask of the modern Christian, living in the euphoric stupor of excess to bend his knee in humility before the Creator of the universe, to cry out and hunger to know Him, to desire Him more than the things of this earth?
I submit to you this day, that a return to prayer, true prayer, free of the cameras and the lights, free of the need to project a certain image to the person sharing a church pew with us, would change the face of contemporary Christianity in a radical, meaningful, and positive way.
Why is it that we no longer pray with fire? Why is it that we no longer pray with greater expectation of an outpouring of the things of God? Are we lacking the motivation? Or is it that we no longer perceive the simplicity of what prayer should be? Have we no examples as to what a pleasing prayer is in the sight of God, has history suddenly been wiped clean? Have we no role models for prayer left?
The Word teaches us how to pray, and better than any flesh and blood role model, we have Christ, the Son of the living God, who has shown us the way.
Until tomorrow, I leave you with this thought:
If Christ promised that we would do greater things in His name, than walking on water, multiplying fishes, and raising the dead, is it His fault that we are not seeing the fulfillment of this promise today?
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.