Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Praise Party Prayers and The Open Invitation


One of the topics I talk about when I'm teaching on prayer is the issue of "shopping list" prayers. I can't for a moment imagine that God likes them.  

You probably know this kind of prayer. I've prayed them myself. They go something like this... 

Hey, God. I need these twenty-two things. Hop to it. And thanks."

We don't verbalize our prayers in quite that way, of course, but it's the "bare bones" truth. 

If my son, Ryan, spoke to me in this way, he would not get a favorable response. I've prayed those prayers. I didn't get a favorable response, either.

It's taken years to develop my "style" of prayer, but it most often goes more like this...

"Hi, Dad. I can hear the birds outside my window and they're singing a great song today. And what an amazing sky you've painted. I love how you blend the blues. I loved it when you worked it out about that problem I mentioned yesterday, and how you worked in my friend's life. Wow. I can hardly believe it. You're amazing..." 

Technically, that's praise prayer. To me, it's just talking with my Dad and best friend about the great things He's doing.

I appreciate people thanking me when I've done something on their behalf, and God does, too. I don't think He gets enough of that from me, or from any of us. We could do a better job of gratitude. I could do a better job.

Do I ask God for things when I pray? Not always. 

I hate to admit that, because people ask me to pray for them pretty often. I do pray for them, but it might not always sound like people expect.

For example, sometimes I say, "I don't know what's best. I'm leaving that in your hands. I trust you with it." 

or, "Don't forget about ... We're still waiting on some help with that, Lord."

or, after going a little long on praise time, "I was going to talk to you about... but you know all about it anyway. We can't solve that for ourselves so we need your help." 

or, "I don't have any suggestions for you, but I wanted to tell you again how great you worked out my last problem... so I know you'll handle this..." 

Sometimes, I have the needs written on index cards as reminders, and I just hold them up before the Lord and say, "Lord, this..." with one card after another. 

It doesn't sound like most of the prayers we hear at church. I know. 

I believe God likes this kind of prayer. I know He does, in fact, because of the amazing ways He answers. 

Of course, I do pray quite a bit of the face to the ground, weeping my eyes out, begging God for my need and asking for a specific answer kind of prayer, too. That's important work. 

Most of my prayers these days, though, are much more about who God is and how great He is than asking Him for anything. That kind of prayer builds relationship. 

It's a kind of "here's our situation, our eyes are on you" prayer. (2 Chronicles 20)

I've told you all this to tell you about Praise Party Prayers. I don't do this often enough, but it's a lot of fun. Sometimes, I spend an entire day without asking God for anything. It's a prayer-filled day in which all prayer is either thanksgiving or praise. No asking allowed. 

I call it a Praise Party.

I'm having one of those days today, and, wherever you are, I'm inviting you to join me. (In case you've already done some asking, just start your Praise Party now...)

It will do something amazing in your heart and plant a sense of gratitude deeper than you can imagine... so what are you waiting for? 

It's a Praise Party Day, and you're invited...

"Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord..." Psalm 150:6
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