It’s sad to say, but a lot of people think prayer is solely about asking for stuff, especially in an emergency. Even sadder is that a lot of them only pray in an emergency. Makes for a strained relationship with God, if the only time you talk to Him is when you need something, especially only when you are in dire straits. I’ve heard a lot of parents say that it makes them sad that their college age kids, or even young adult children, only call them when they need money. Sounds like the kids don’t really care about having a real relationship with their parents.
But you know, God’s not like that. He really wants to have a close, personal, dare I say intimate relationship with you. He already knows all about you anyway. He’s been looking at your heart. Why shouldn’t you really let Him in and begin to develop a relationship with Him where you know a lot more about Him. Get intimately acquainted with God. For my money, that’s what prayer is, and should be about.
Oh, about meditation. In the Eastern spiritual disciplines, (read Buddhists), the goal of meditation (what they call ‘transcendental’ meditation) is to rid your mind of conscious thought, so you can become one with ‘what is’ (my words not theirs). And it seems to work for them, at least the ones I know who really practice it on a daily basis. I haven’t really tried it, because I’m so in love with meditating about God, about His Word, and experiencing how His Spirit is moving in my heart and in my life. Sometimes I start out thinking about God and His Words from the Bible, and I get so caught up in the experience that I really do just quit thinking about anything in particular and start listening to what He’s saying to me through His Spirit.
So when I meditate, I start out thinking about what I call “Six Great Themes of the Bible”, which include Love, Humble, Thanks, Trust, Obey, and Serve. I have a verse or passage (or two) for each theme, including the following:
LOVE: Matt 22:35-40; 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”(Mark 12:28-31) (Luke 10:25-28) (Deut. 6:4-5) (Levit. 19:18)
HUMBLE: James 4:6-10; 6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (1 Peter 5:5-6) (Prov 3:34)
THANKS: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
TRUST: Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
OBEY: Philippians 2:5-8: 5 Let this mind [this attitude] be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became OBEDIENT to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
SERVE: Luke 9:23: “If anyone would follow Me [be My disciple, My student], let him deny himself, and take up his cross [die to himself (see Galatians 2:20)] daily, and follow Me.”
I don’t know. Sometimes I think, at least for me, these are among the most important verses/passages in the Bible. They express, for me, what it really means to be a “Practicing Christian”. There may be other verses that are most important for you. If there are, and you don’t already have them memorized, please write them down, and read them over to yourself every day, until they are so ingrained in your heart, mind and spirit, that you can enjoy thinking about them (and about the God who gave them to you) every day for the rest of your eternal life.