The BEST thing we can do for our world, our communities, our families, ourselves is to pray.
- Instead of worrying about our grades, pray.
- Instead of getting frustrated over something our parents, teachers, or friends tell us, pray.
- Instead of getting overwhelmed by all the problems in the world, pray.
Pray? Really? Yes! Prayer is effective. Worrying is not.
Jesus explained, "I tell you not to worry about everyday life" (Matt 6:25 NLT). Why not? Because "your Father knows your needs before you ask" (Matt 6:8 Phillips).
Prayer isn't making an idle or self-serving wish. Prayer is:
- listening actively to God – and then doing what God tells us to do, whatever that may be;
- aligning our thoughts with God;
- accepting our status as God's beloved child;
- seeing everyone as God's child;
- realizing that God is in charge;
- trusting in God's will, not our own;
- getting ourselves out of the way and letting God live through us.
If Jesus had worried about all his problems -- his disciples not getting it, religious authorities challenging him, and the cross coming closer (to name a few) -- he wouldn't have been able to accomplish anything.
With everything, Jesus prayed. Jesus emphasized the essential and powerful nature of prayer when he taught his disciples to pray. Jesus told them to go into their "closets," their "mental rooms," away from others, alone where they could be with God, and pray (Matt 6:6). Then he told them (and us) how to pray, giving us an example and template in the Lord's Prayer -- beginning with "Our Father" (Matt 6: 9-13).
Jesus expected results from his prayer. He explained:
"Ask and it will be given to you. Search and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened for you. The one who asks will always receive; the one who is searching will always find, and the door is opened to the man [one] who knocks." (Matt 7:7-8 Phillips)
And he got results! Look at how Jesus changed the lives of those he knew well and the lives of people he never met. His healing message of love transformed the world. The author of 1 Timothy understood the importance of prayer: "First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them" (2:1).
So what are we waiting for?
Let's ask God how to think about issues that arise. Let's search for the best decision. Let's pray before we go to school, get in a car, do homework, answer the phone, watch TV, go out on a date, apply for a job, etc. Praying about every decision, situation, person, community issue, world event that crosses our thought will bring blessings -- to ourselves and to the world.