OceanSide church of Christ

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Prayer or Player?
by: Dalton Gilreath

An atheist was walking through the woods.

"What majestic trees"!

"What powerful rivers"!

"What beautiful animals"!

He said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder & saw that the bear was closing in on him.

He looked over his shoulder again, & the bear was even closer. He tripped & fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right On top of him, reaching for him with his left paw & raising his right paw to strike him. At that instant the Atheist cried out, "God help me!"

Time Stopped.
The bear froze.
The forest was still.

As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky. "You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don't exist and even credit creation to cosmic accident." "Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer"?

The atheist looked directly into the light, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps You could make the BEAR a Christian"?

"Very Well," said the Voice.

The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head & spoke:

"Lord bless this food, which I am about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen."

When do we take time to address our Father in prayer? Far too often our communication with Him happens only in times of need. In this illustration we see an atheist coming to God for the first time in a near death experience. This might be a typical response for someone of the world. However, Christians are supposed to be different from the world. Do we ever find ourselves behaving like the world when it comes to our prayer life? Prayer is a powerful blessing and privilege given by God to his children. Through Jesus we have the ability to bow before our Maker’s throne and speak directly to Him. How often do we take for granted this opportunity?

We are all busy people. We have jobs, family, friends, responsibilities, and more we have to take care of on a daily basis. We can easily forget to take a moment of our time to speak with our Father. However, we must work towards creating a habit of praying multiple times a day like David (Psalm 55:17). He prayed to God every morning, noon, and evening. Starting your day by asking God to watch over you will certainly start your day off right. Praying at lunch to thank God for your blessings will be a blessing in itself. Speaking with Him as you pillow your head requesting safety through the night might just lead to good rest. When and what you pray for is completely up to you, but don’t lose sight of its necessity and significance.

As we do begin to pray daily we often allow ourselves to “go through the motions” instead praying fervently (James 5:16). This also makes us a “player” instead of a   “prayer”. The few times we do pray we might just repeat our normal comments or requests and end the prayer. For example, when we pray for our food we might always say, “Bless this food to the nourishment of our body and our body to your service”. Is there anything wrong with that statement? Of course not. But can we repeat it so often that we really don’t even think about or mean what we say? Absolutely. Jesus taught against using vain repetitions as we pray (Matt 6:6-8). When we pray we ought to pause for a moment and focus on what we are about to do. After all, we are approaching our Maker, Redeemer, and Judge who tells us we will be held accountable for every “idle word” that we speak (Matt 12:36-37).

Furthermore, if we do not genuinely pray to our Father on a regular basis, what does that mean about our relationship with Him? What happens when you don’t keep in touch with someone close to you? You will grow apart over time. Certainly, the same is true with our Father. If we do not speak with Him often we will grow apart. Surely our relationship with Him means more to us than that. Friends, make it a habit to speak with your Father every day, be sure to take your time and think about what you are saying, and remember that your relationship with Him will decline as a result of your negligence. Let’s all make an effort to take advantage of one of the greatest blessings known to man.