What then is prayer? (part 3)

For the past two nights, I’ve reflected on my ever-expanding notion and perception of prayer, looking at Scripture and Worship and Silence and Life.  In tonight’s final post of this series, I look at Love and how that can also become prayer, and close out these three reflections with some concluding thoughts.

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39) Loving God with all our heart, soul and mind is the prayer of “life”. Loving our neighbor is the prayer of “love”. Learning to love and developing our lives into a life of love is a process and journey that comes with much effort and intention. From a distance we can intercede for others with the Father. As we draw closer to one another, we offer prayers of healing and suffering. As we relate and engage in authentic community, our ability to love grows. As our connections grow even deeper, we find ourselves drawn closer too to God. Our intentions and responses to individuals are based in love, rather than passion-filled self-interest, pride or greed. Our hearts break and rejoice over that which breaks and rejoices God’s heart. And in so doing, our love becomes prayer.

Prayer has the power, more than any other activity or discipline, to change us, and in so doing, change the world. It is prayer that moves mountains, restores life, offers hope, heals disease, and brings light. The very power and might of heaven is rained upon us. As we pursue God, He also pursues us. The very thought that I am invited to commune with the very King of kings and Lord of lords is an amazing thing.

I often think about what will be said of my life when I pass from this earthly realm into the heavenlies. Will I have shown love and mercy? Will lives have been touched and changed? Will the Lord’s Kingdom have grown greater and His light shone brighter? And no matter how important those questions are, any attempts apart from the Lord will only be ceaseless striving and filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). The greater question I now realize is, “Was she a woman made by her prayers?” Will my life reflect regular rich engagements with the Lord? And the only way to answer that question affirmatively is through prayer.

So, what then is prayer? Prayer is a life lived in utter transparency before the Lord, engaging with Scripture, Worship, Silence, Life and Love. It is a life echoing the Psalmist, “The one thing I ask of the Lord, the thing I seek most, is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.” (Psalm 27:4)