Good Words from Prayer Champions Eddie and Alice Smith
Legendary crusade evangelist, Billy Sunday, of the 19th and early 20th centuries, was an ex- National League baseball center fielder who became the most celebrated and influential evangelist of his time. He was highly animated in his delivery. We encourage you to do a Google search for “evangelist Billy Sunday” and watch some of the short silent historic video clips of him preaching. He was unorthodox to say the least.
Billy once said,“If you have no joy in your religion, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.”
Did you ever think our prayers are empty and meaningless not because we don’t take prayer seriously enough, but because we take prayer too seriously? Let me explain.
We are sometimes so weighted down with our sin, so pressured with our lives, so overwhelmed with our needs, and so forced into cultural molds of “how to” pray that we forget thatthe basic thrust of prayer is toCELEBRATE!
Prayer is a child running to spend time with his Father who loves the child -- dotes on the child, if you will -- and Who is pleased with the time spent.
Now don’t get us wrong. There is that other side of prayer…
Once there was a farmer and his son working in a field. They looked up and saw a tornado swiftly sweeping across the land in their direction. Both started running for the house, when the father suddenly realized that his son wasn’t with him. He looked back and noticed the boy on his knees in the middle of the field.
“Run, son,” the father shouted, “a scared prayer ain’t worth a darn!”
Scared, frightened and intense prayer is worth a lot more than you might think, and we certainly don’t want to give you the impression that prayer is a silly experience where it is hard to tell the difference between a prayer and a giggle.
However, with all of that said, there is a major element of prayer that most of us miss and that element is laughter -- a free, joyous, wholesome, hearty laughter. That laughter can only come from those who have realized that God isn’t mad at them, that He is their Father, and that nothing will ever change that.
When the Puritan slipped in his prayer and prayed, “Lord, let me tell Thee a joke,” he didn’t offend God nor anyone else who knows the joy and freedom of prayer. God, I’m sure had heard the joke, but enjoyed hearing it again.If you find that offensive, we need to talk.
Listen to these verses we never memorized in Sunday School: ➔“He brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me”(Psa 18:19). ➔“Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”(Psa 37:3-4). ➔“You shall be no longer termed Forsaken, Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate. But you shall be called Hepzibah(literal meaning: ‘My delight is in Her’),and your land Beulah(literal meaning: ‘Married’);for the Lord delights in you…”(Isa 62:4).
When God invites us to prayer, He invites us to the dance -- a celebration of our relationship with Him, and what created it; a celebration of Who He is and what He has created, a celebration of life, and meaning, and forgiveness, and heaven.
When the Father invites us to prayer,He issues -- to mix the metaphors even more than we’ve already mixed them -- an invitation to a joyous party.
Prayer, when taken too seriously, ceases to be prayer. It rather becomes a formal exercise in obeying rules, in being proper, and in doing the religious things necessary for ‘prayer’ to happen.
God went to a lot of trouble to make sure that prayer was something quite different from that. He says (in Hebrew, of course), “Chill out, for My Sake child, just chill out!”
Unusual? Yes. Not what you typically hear from us.
We serious Americans have been under tremendous stress this year. 2020 hasn’t been a good year for vision. We’ve wrestled with pandemic, deaths, layoffs, shutdowns, and an intense election season. As we write this, we still don’t have the Presidential election votes counted, and we are being warned not to gather with more than 10 family members to celebrate Thanksgiving!
Our heavenly Father isn’t shaken. He knows the future. He who has been faithful in the past, and the
present will be faithful in the future. We can trust Him. When we seem to have little to celebrate, we can joyfullycelebrate Himwith thanksgiving!
God bless you, our faithful friend. We are thankful for you. Laugh, celebrate and pray. Happy Thanksgiving!