One day while I sat at my computer doing video announcements, putting together graphics and making charts for a meeting, my boys walked in the room. One began asking for milk while the youngest one, who is a pre-talker, held out his hands, looked up with those beautiful eyes and motioned his hands by opening and closing them. He was beckoning for me to pick him up.
I continued working on my multiple projects because I needed to get to a stopping point. They were unaware of what I was doing and that I was going to be with them momentarily. They continued tapping me and asking for milk and to be picked up. After a few seconds I told my 3-year-old that I had heard him and his request and I turned to my 1-year-old and smiled at him and told him I'd pick him up in a moment.
My acknowledgment meant nothing to them. They kept asking for attention.
I finally got to a stopping point and stood up and they kept asking for milk and to be picked up. I made my move toward the kitchen and opened the refrigerator with the 3-year-old still saying "Daddy, Daddy, may I have some milk, please. I really need some milk."
Mind you my 1-year-old followed me on those little bowed legs the entire time with his arms out.
I did not experience peace from them until I had placed a cup of milk in my 3-year-old's hand and I had picked the 1-year-old up. I must say that for all of the whimpering and chasing he wanted to get down and keep walking as soon as I hugged him. They understood that if they were persistent in their requests that their father would attend to their needs.
And so it should be with our prayers.
We must understand that if we are persistent in our prayers, God will hear us and attend to our request. It's not enough to just make our request alone or pray until we discern God's voice. It's not enough to stop praying when we sense God moving on our behalf. We must continue to pray until we see the manifestation and then allow for that prayer to turn into thanksgiving.
Prayer is simply sincere communication with God. I enjoy discussing and observing other types of religion and one of those religions is Islam. I respect the discipline that they have towards prayer.
One of Islam's basic tenants is prayer and it must be observed at least five times per day at specific times. A disappointing reality for many American Christians is that many of us pray a maximum of once per day and for some the only time they pray is for their meals.
There was a man who once told a parable and the theme of the parable is that people should always pray and never give up. If we look at the life of this man Jesus, we find that the majority of his time was spent in prayer. Even in his darkest moments, he prayed and stayed in prayer until his last breathe. The reason he could do the things he did is because he lived a centered life of prayer that kept him in line with the will and power of God. Author and clergy member E.M. Bounds is attributed with the famous phrase, "Much Prayer, much Power; little Prayer, little Power; no Prayer, no Power."
In the words of the famous hymn, "Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pains we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer." Many of the stresses of life and the mental anguish we experience could be alleviated or eliminated with us centering in prayer.
This week, attempt to be more intentional about centering yourself in persistent prayer. Know that prayer does not only happen on your knees, but you can pray anywhere at any time. One outcome that you may find in your centering and prayer time is that God will allow you to see your situation with a new set of eyes. Things that seemed to be insurmountable will become smaller because you engaged the power that is greater than any circumstances or power.
If God be for you, who can be against you? Keep praying, Do no harm, Do good and stay in love with God.
Rev. E. Chip Owens is a graduate of the Gammon Theological Seminary on the Historic Campus of the Interdenominational Theological Center. He has served as a Senior Pastor in the Covington Area. He is a sought-after preacher and author who has had the pleasure of sharing the Gospel nationwide.