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October 27, 2023

My prayer life could be better. Sometimes, the things to take before our God in prayer are overwhelming. Maybe you've felt that way, and the overwhelmingness of the list prevents you from praying. I recently finished Pete Greig's book "Dirty Glory," and I wanted to share just one of the takeaways for me from his book.

In our fast-paced lives, prayer often becomes a familiar routine, a means to express our needs and desires. Maybe it has become a ritual at mealtimes, or a way to end the day before you fall asleep or even while you fall asleep. We turn to God for help, healing, and guidance. We intercede for our loved ones and seek solutions to life's challenges. But what if our prayer life could transcend the ordinary, moving beyond requests and petitions?

Today, I want to invite you to envision a different kind of prayer life—one that is richer, deeper, and more transformative. As I was going through the book, I was struck by Pete's question, "One day we will be with the Lord forever. But what will we talk to him about once there are no more sicknesses to be healed, sinners to be saved, churches to be planted, and injustices that need to be fought? Too often we only pray about problems: conflict at work, friends who need healing, prodigals far from God. One day, when the Lord invites us to walk with him in the cool of the evening, and there are no more problems we can possibly address in prayer, will we have learned simply to enjoy his presence, hallowing his name without asking for anything in return?" (Pete Greig, "Dirty Glory," p. 106)

Pete reminded me that prayer is not merely a transaction with God. It is a profound conversation, a dialogue that transcends requests. It's about sharing our hearts, dreams, fears, and joys with our Heavenly Father.

As you reflect on your prayer life, consider the deeper conversations you could have with God. Can we share more than just our requests? What will we talk to God about when our earthly needs are met?

Consider this story of Pete walking and talking with God, where prayer played a transformative role in an unexpected way.

God spoke to me about this very clearly one day, as I walked down a road near my house. It wasn't an audible voice, but it was so unmistakably and unexpectedly Him that I stopped immediately, mid-pace, right there in the crowded street. God said, "Look at that tree."

I froze and stared at it with my heart racing. Something momentous was obviously about to happen. Perhaps this was to be my burning-bush moment? Or perhaps the tree was about to fall, and I was to heroically save someone? Or maybe the Lord was about to give me a powerful prophetic revelation or even an angelic visitation.

I stood there transfixed, staring into the branches of a fairly average hawthorn (if my memory serves me correctly), hardly daring to breathe. And gradually... absolutely nothing happened. I waited undeterred, rooted to the spot, eyes aloft, muscles tensed, while fellow pedestrians gave me sideways glances, probably concerned that I'd lost my cat, or cricked my neck, or was having some kind of awkward "episode."

"OK, I'm looking at the tree," I hissed eventually, just in case God hadn't noticed or had got distracted with events in the Middle East. "What happens now?"

But God didn't seem to be in any great hurry to reply. Eventually, a little reluctantly, he said, "I just thought it was a pretty good tree, Pete," before adding, "Why do you always have to get so intense about everything?"

I found myself muttering, "Nice tree, Lord. Good job on the tree." Then I wandered off down the road a little dejectedly, having experienced the most underwhelming epiphany of all time.

Our relationship with God is at its best when we talk to Him about trivia: trees and trains and parking spaces. I'd hate it if my children only ever talked to me about Grave Matters of Serious Concern.

It's a convicting example of how prayer can turn into a shopping list, or where God becomes a vending machine and prayer the buttons we are pressing trying to get a response.

I want to invite you to join in on a journey toward a richer prayer life. Prayer can be a place of intimacy and transformation, where we don't just list our needs but share our deepest selves with the Creator of the universe. It's about building a relationship with God, our Heavenly Father who loves us.

So what's next? Ponder your prayer life, challenge yourself to go beyond requests, and embrace the profound conversations that can transform your connection with God. And if you’re interested in checking out the book "Dirty Glory," you can find it at your local library, free on Hoopla or purchase a copy for yourself.

Kyle Cannon

Digital Experience Pastor

White Oak Christian Church


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