Day 3 How Not To Turn Prayer Into An Information Session
by Dieuner Joseph
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. Psalm 135:1-5
The 21st century has been dubbed the information age. Access to and the control of information are the defining characteristics of this current era. Social media has broadened our access to information. People have become more reliant on the instantaneous transmission of information through multiple platforms. Social media companies have commoditized the transmission of information, while other companies are set up to mine consumers’ personal information to sell.
With all the focus on information, it is not surprising many Christians are approaching prayer as an information session instead of a spiritual conversation. In truth, it is challenging to resist the temptation not to turn prayer into an information session. When God’s response to our prayer is delayed we feel the need to let God know what is going on so He can intervene more readily. Many people assume God needs to be informed about the particulars of their lives. Some think God is too busy to pay attention to their individual crises. They surmise it is only when they share their circumstance with God in prayer He will know what they need and how to help them.
God does not need us to tell Him anything He does not already know. He is the All-knowing God whose knowledge is All-Encompassing. After all, God is the inventor of knowledge. The Lord knows our thoughts before we think of them. He discerns our motives and knows every bit of information about our lives.
If God already knows everything about our lives, why then do we pray? Prayer is more about transformation than information. It is not intended to give God insights about our circumstances. The Almighty does not need us to tell him when we are in crisis. From His throne in Heaven, God has a view of humanity that is all-encompassing. He invites us to pray because He wants to commune with us in spirit and in truth.
In Psalm 139:1-5, David expresses confidence in God’s omniscience. From David’s perspective, God is not only the ultimate knower of all things – He knows him. He begins the Psalm by affirming that the true God cared enough to search him and to know him. That same God pays attention to every detail of David’s life and knows when he sits and when he rises.
It is because of God’s personal and intimate knowledge of every one of His creation we do not have to turn prayer into an information session. Prayer is our therapy session with our Heavenly Father. It is our time to say how we feel so we can be encouraged and empowered for our Christian journey. The outcome of prayer is not determined by the information we share but by the intercession of the Holy Spirit on our behalf.
Believers have to do three things in order not to turn prayer into an information session. First, we have to pray in the Spirit. What does it mean to pray in the Spirit? It is inviting the Holy Spirit to saturate our hearts and our words as we communicate with our Heavenly Father. Praying in the Spirit is praying from the heart with passion, faith, and persistence. That type of prayer can be verbal or meditational. When we pray in the Spirit our minds are illuminated, our hearts are serenaded by the overwhelming presence of God even as the Holy Spirit gives us the freedom to let our request known to God.
Secondly, we have to pray with a spirit of expectation. Believers should approach God with the confidence He can do more exceedingly than they can ask or imagine. It is important to know though we do not know how to pray God will supply our needs and deliver us accordingly. Believers should expect God to bless them not because of what they say, but because of who God is.
Third, we have to develop a fondness for fellowshipping with God in prayer. Too many Christians think of prayer as an arduous spiritual exercise they are forced to do because of their circumstance. No! Prayer is a fun time with a fun-loving God. We have to get to the point where we enjoy praying even when we don’t have anything to say. The most important aspect of prayer is to be in the presence of God. We do not necessarily have to get anything from God when we pray. True spiritual growth and transformation will occur when we long for an intimate encounter with God through prayer every waking moment.
Questions for Personal Reflection
1- Why is a prayer not an information session?
2- What are the three things you have to do in order not to turn prayer into an information session?
Prayer- Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed your name! I acknowledge you know me better than I know myself. Teach me not to pray only out of need, but also out of a loving desire to commune with you in spiritual intimacy. Remind me of your promises and your provisions when I assume you do not know my circumstance.