When troubling times come, many have an instinct to pray. However, even with this instinct, I still often hear the phrase, “I don’t even know how to pray.” It’s a sentiment shared by the multitudes these days. Isn’t it funny how sometimes, what we need to know from God’s Word is right in front of our faces?
On Amazon alone, if you search for, ‘prayer book’, over 60,000 options pop up. I would imagine that many, perhaps all, of those would offer great suggestions on establishing a better prayer life. But, it may be more simple than we think.
And that simpler answer comes straight from Jesus.
Let me give you a little backstory of how I arrived at this simple answer. It was Mother’s Day in 1995, I had just visited my mom and step-dad’s church for the holiday. I saw this as my contribution to the cause, they wanted me there more often, but since I was living a lifestyle displeasing to them (and God), I would only grace them with my presence on special occasions.
Once again, I was threatened with hellfire and brimstone, and once again, like the good little heathen I was, I responded to the altar call…AGAIN. Unlike the other times though, I had made it all of 6 days. 6 days, sober and free of any mood/mind altering substances.
Then one fateful Saturday night, a beer rep showed up offering one free mug with the purchase of two beers. I finished our shows that night, and made it back to my room, at the time, beer-free and mugless and then the thoughts started.
“I love that mug.”
“I want that mug.”
“I NEED one of those mugs.”
“Jesus turned the water into wine, so two beers are not gonna kill me, right? Surely, Jesus will understand.”
Back to the bar I trotted to scoop up my one beer mug in exchange for the purchase of two beers. Three hours later, as the bar was closing down, I staggered back to my room with a full set of FOUR of these etched glass beer mugs. Chances are, there were some shots of liquor mixed into the equation but since I had been a blackout drinker for 20 years at this point, I have no recollection of several hours of that evening.
What I do recall, is carefully clanging and placing my new purchases on the dresser, then fully clothed, sprawled across my hotel room bed where I proceeded to cry and pray for God to forgive me of my sin one more time. And begging Him to make the room stop spinning. I know the Lord is faithful to forgive us even in our drunken stupor, but the room continued to spin.
I cried and begged until I fell asleep. I remember the next morning seeing my etched glass trophies of failure on the dresser, barely remembering their acquisition, yet clearly recalling how I had prayed for God to help me and He did not. So I learned, prayer must not work.
Fast forward to September of that same year, when through a moment of clarity in another stupor, I set my alarm clock to go to a 12-step recovery meeting the next morning to see my best friend pick up her 90-day chip celebrating a milestone in her recovery. She had invited me 3 times already but this time, I knew I needed to go.
Now this past September, I celebrated 25 years of being free from the bondages of alcohol and chemical addiction. You see, my prayer wasn’t answered in May of 1995, because God is a gentleman, and he wasn’t going to knock those beers out of my hands. But when I made the choice to stop and sought help to stay stopped, He has answered that prayer every day since. Not once has the room spun.
We can get so caught up in our prayer for laundry list items that we want, or things we think we need. In Matthew 6:33, God calls those things the ‘added unto’s’. He tells us right there where we need to place our prayer focus: His Kingdom! What is His Kingdom? Romans 14:7 tells us it’s righteousness, peace, and joy. Jesus tells us in the Lord’s prayer which is where He Himself taught us to pray, “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done”. There it is. Our prayer, the simplest prayer that He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane…’thy will not mine be done”.
Praying this simple prayer will change your life, I promise. It (He) changed mine! And to this day, I’m forever thankful to be 25+ years sober, by the Grace of God.
Thoughtfully written by Kay Dodd.
Comedian Kay Dodd – @kaydoddcomedy | kaydodd.com
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