Two words that should never sit on the same page are “boring” and “prayer”.
Yet for many people, prayer is a drudgery, devoid of power, a religious rigmarole. A box to tick in frustrating efforts to follow Christ stuffed alongside church attendance and Bible reading.
Yet in our hearts, we know it should be so much more. Prayer should provide a vibrant connection of Heaven to earth. We’re convinced that there’s more, but how do we discover the hidden treasures that prayer promises those who choose to pursue?
“Prayer is a spiritual technology, and you need an upgrade.”
Several years ago, I set aside some time to pray, very much in the manner I was used to, and the Holy Ghost stopped me in my tracks. He said, “Prayer is a spiritual technology, and you need an upgrade.”
Immediately, I was curious.
What does “prayer technology” look like and how does it work?
And an upgrade? In what way would an upgrade impact my present level of effectiveness and intimacy in the prayer closet?
For many years in the natural, I carried around a Blackberry mobile phone device. Remember those? I never bothered upgrading or trading it in. It worked, so why bother complicating things with something different or new?
The device could send messages. It received and made calls without issue. But compared to other modern smartphones, it was basically defunct. I stubbornly held to the device because “it worked”.
Maybe my comparison is limited in scope. I’m still not fussed to have the latest, greatest phone in my pocket. If it does the job it needs to do, I’m content. The point I am making is this, and it’s the point I believe the Holy Ghost was making to me when He spoke to me – we sometimes get stuck using old technologies because they are familiar, but in doing so we rob ourselves of a richer, more colourful, more dynamic experience of God’s ways and His world.
I dare say for many their prayer life feels like the old analogue phone, or maybe a bonfire on a hilltop, rather than an up-to-date all-singing-all-dancing communication device.
It’s very easy in our spiritual walk to stick with the Blackberry or to use a fax machine instead of email. To a degree, they accomplish the same end, only slower and less effectively.
A Workman Not Ashamed
Another way to look at this would be to think about a workman’s tool belt.
A hammer is a technology. If you want to knock a hole in the wall, or drive a nail, it’s perfect for the job. But what if you want to place a screw into some furniture, paint a picture, or carve an intricate design. Swing the hammer all you like, your results are going to be less than satisfactory.
Different jobs need different tools, tools designed to get results.
So it is in prayer.
Often we have experienced a level of success with one form of prayer, so we blindly apply it to every situation.
Pray for the sick? Hammer.
Repent of sin? Hammer?
Seek deeper intimacy with the Lord? Hammer.
Hammer. Hammer. Hammer. Hammer.
Prayer though is not a one-tool track. It’s a deepening journey into the heart of God, one in which He will entrust you with greater and more effective tools the further you walk together with Him.
Paul urged the Ephesians to pray “with all manner of prayer”.
“Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).” (Ephesians 6:18 AMP)
There are different tools and technologies, designed by God to accomplish various outcomes in the spiritual realm.
The Holy Ghost wants to equip us for intimacy and for victory.
What worked yesterday will most likely still work today to some degree. Principles are principles. But there’s a difference between a manual screwdriver with one flat head and a power tool screwdriver with many heads and settings.
God can take the foundations you have laid in the secret place and build upon them. Every practice in the private place of prayer can be “souped-up” and injected with fresh revelation and excitement. In some cases maybe even be superseded and replaced.
Maybe like me, you feel it’s time for an upgrade in the prayer closet?
Maybe there’s more to be explored in prayer than we’ve been led to believe?
If your prayer life feels lifeless fear not. The Lord of life has opened a new and living way for you. His blood has paid the price of entrance and wonder awaits beyond the door.
Let’s forever banish boredom from the prayer closet, for the two things do not belong in the same space!
Prayer, The Great Adventure
Prayer is the greatest adventure any man or woman will ever embark upon. Don’t settle for drudgery. Resist the idea that some are called to deep satisfaction but you are consigned to spiritual mediocrity. It is simply not true.
I want to crack open some ideas and practices that have helped me move from hammering away at every challenge I faced, to the much more nuanced and richly satisfying experience I now enjoy behind the prayer closet door.
I have found by allowing the Holy Ghost to challenge my status quo, and to put new technologies into my heart and hand, whole vistas of possibility open up. The majesty of prayer stands before you. There’s so much more to discover and the adventure of intimacy never ends.
Take us deeper, Lord. Make us more powerful in prayer, and more effective in every way.
Equip us with fresh insights so we can upgrade our lives with the technologies of Heaven.