I was corresponding with my friend Juanita Unruh, whose husband pastors Westside Baptist Church in Greeley, Colorado. Juanita is a dear friend. We met while both serving as secretaries at BJU, were in each other’s weddings and have tried to keep in contact ever since. She’s the kind of friend I don’t really have to explain myself to, and some of the most edifying company (even via email) I’ve known. Recently I sent her some great article links for a series entitled “What is the Role of the Pastor’s Wife?” by Dan Miller (if you are a pastor’s wife, this is a great read for you…if you know a pastor’s wife, read it, and then send her the link too).*
A week or so ago Juanita and I were emailing about prayer. She shared these thoughts, which I now pass on to you, with her permission:
My quest/journey to grasp prayer is in it’s infancy! I am about 1/2 way through The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds. The book explores (in depth) so many facets of prayer-the necessity, essentials, possibilities and reality of prayer.
I guess the one thought that has stuck with me is that prayer is a school house. I think I used prayer as a means to an end…just getting me through to the end instead of seeing what lessons God had for me in the situation I was/am in that caused me to seek His face. As we continually seek His face about a matter (the matter concerning prayer:) ) He teaches patience..wait on my in this situation…He teaches us that He is omnipotent as He gives us the strength to continue…He teaches us that he is all knowing as we see Him answer prayer in only a way that an all knowing God could (ie…meeting a monetary need with the exact amount.) So many things we can learn if we avail our self to the school house of prayer. We lessons we would miss if we didn’t go to Him in prayer. Just a few simple thoughts.
How about you? Is prayer a means to an end for you, or is it the means for growth, fostering a relationship of trust, and worship? Is it about what you get out of it, or the work done in your life through it? Here’s my response:
What I was sharing with the ladies yesterday (we are going through F.R. Havergal’s “Kept for the Master’s Use” with added scripture and discussion questions that I get together…next week we start “Take my will and make it Thine, it shall be no longer mine”–should be good) is that the more I ponder prayer and the Christian life in general, the more I am coming to realize that it is about what is happening in me more than through me…I think Jim Berg was right when he said, “We are trying to get things done…God is trying to get US done!” Prayer is more about what it accomplishes in me…humility, dependence, resignation of self and a correct perception of self and of God…than about a “grocery list”.
I haven’t studied it out yet, but our pastor is going through a series on prayer for Sunday school. In one of the lessons I was privileged to attend he was teaching on the Lord’s Prayer…and how everything about it is requesting spiritual things rather than material. Even the one physical request “give us this day our daily bread” has connected with it the idea of daily reliance (think manna) for what is needed for each day…a spiritual exercise in obtaining our bodily needs. Matthew Henry has some interesting ideas on this here.
*And for your pastor, or your husband/pastor, click here for a link to some terrific encouragement–a series entitled “What Your Pastor Wishes You Knew About Him”. Pass it along!