Okay, so the photo above is probably a strong entry for the “Most Boring Photo of November 2016” competition! It does not look that thrilling, does it?
I took it this morning when out for a walk out at the lake area just north of where we live. It was cold and the sky was very dull. There were not many people about, just a few determined individuals walking their dogs.
So why did I take the photo?
Well in the mid-distance, you can make out something yellow. This is from a digger at the centre of some work going on to strength the banks and cut down erosion and prevent water undermining the island (at least I think that is what is being worked on!)
When I first noticed it the other week, I stood and watched for a time. It struck me that the work going on is largely unseen by people in Leiden or Warmond (over the other side of the lake). Even for those walking up by the lake; what is going on will be largely unnoticed. No one else for instance stopped and watched with me – may be that is not surprising as there is nothing very exciting to see! (I guess it was the ex-Geography teacher part of me that grabbed my interest).
So where am I going with this? Well the thoughts struck me that other week, that prayer is also often unseen and unnoticed by so many. It can seem like it is not ‘doing’ and perhaps we might question does it make a difference?
We may say yes to seeking to live out our Christian lives in our workplaces, neighbourhoods or families or for us to campaign and act on behalf of those in the world experiencing injustice or oppression. Or to be involved in the politics of the country we are from and/or now live in. (There is a certain election in the US this week for example!)
All of those things and many other things too can be right to be involved with. But let’s not fall into the trap of missing out on prayer. Let’s not miss out on taking time to be real with God or to seek to listen to Him. To come in worship, in confession or to intercede on behalf of others we know or situations we see in the news.
The work up at the lake is largely unseen and largely unnoticed. Yet without it there will be real problems. Prayer may be largely unseen and unnoticed by others but it too is vital. It is a lifeline connection between us and the Lord. Unlike the picture, it does not mean prayer has to be dull, though sometimes it can feel like hard work and can need us to be disciplined to do it, asking the Lord for help in the process.
In the New Testament, we read these words, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2) and elsewhere, “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
How do we respond to such words? If you are being honest, how do you view prayer? Is it a feature of your life?
Is it one of those things you kind of feel may be you ought to do but don’t know where to begin? Or “I’ve tried prayer, it doesn’t work!”
Whatever our answers to such questions, how can we grow in prayer in our lives both individually and one another?
Why not take some time to think about? (may be prayer about it too!)