We have drive-thru food and drive-thru dry cleaners, we even have drive-thru coffee huts, why not drive-thru prayer? A church in Phoenix recently pondered that question and decided to turn their parking lot into a giant drive-thru prayer venue. For three hours one night, they waved signs (”Turn in here for Prayer”) and people turned in off the road and asked for prayer. The members stood by the cars and prayed one-on-one for each of the requests.
Our society yearns for the impact of real prayer. Our needs are substantive. Our hurts are real. But for the most part, our ability to truly connect with almighty God is poor at best.
I can think of several reasons for that spiritual disconnect. Focus is one issue. The monastics (300-600AD) who hid themselves away in caves probably prayed a great deal with a clear purpose, but their lack of interaction with people limited their effectiveness as a witness. Contrast that with some modern day “prayer warriors” who quickly utter (often with their mouth full) “thank you for this day…or thank you for this food” but they are definitely lacking in depth and sincerity.
Physical positioning is another issue. Although the Bible includes a wide variety of examples of people standing, kneeling, laying prostate on the floor and sitting as they prayed, the preferred posture today seems to be with head bowed, heads closed and maybe with fingers intertwined. It is as if we are convinced that positioning affects the outcome of our prayers.
Language is another issue. Those among us who are generally considered “good prayers” often sound like they ought to live in the 1600s in London, England. The “thees” and “thous” sound lofty as they ask God to “lead, guide and direct us,” but I can’t help but wonder if they are at all present in the moment.
But attitude is the big issue. Too often we treat God like He is a giant vending machine in the sky. We are hoping for the blessing found in window “E6” so we pray for it fervently (if not selfishly) and anticipate that it will come clanging down from heaven like a candy bar through the machine.
So this week, let’s not wander around looking for a drive-thru prayer facility. Instead, let’s take to heart the instruction found in James 5:16 where we are taught that the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man (or woman) can accomplish much!
Clear your mind of “stuff”…find a comfortable position in a quiet corner…speak just as you would on the phone to a friend and ask God to invade your life with His plan, His will and His purposes. Now that is an effective prayer!
Warmest Regards in Christ,
Sherry L. Worel
Stoneybrooke Christian Schools