I picked up a little pamphlet from the rack in the foyer of a church I was visiting titled "Squeezing Prayer into a Busy Life." I could imagine various possible directions for the six pages that would follow. The writer could tell us that if we really loved God we would find time to pray. He could tell us that he himself loves praying more than football. He could tell us that if we don't pray a lot, maybe we ought to examine ourselves to see if we're really even Christians at all!
This particular writer, Jim Auer, takes a different tack. He gently invites us to consider that the problem of time management might mask a few deeper blocks to prayer that we're unaware of, which he then proceeds to deal with helpfully. At one point he comes up with the idea of using any of the day's small happenings as grist for the mill of prayer. Example:
"Prayer Over Empty Beer Cans Discarded on the Sidewalk: 'Lord, please be with whoever left these cans. If they drank from sorrow, heal their hurt. If they drank to escape, help them to face their difficulty. . . ."
I like that. It's a cheap shot to assume that just because a person isn't praying, he has a low spiritual temperature, or isn't saved. Sometimes we spiritual slackers can be helped immensely by a concrete suggestion or two. It's not everyone who is given a hand up who will refuse it.
A guy named Apollos went around teaching about Jesus in Ephesus. In the crowd there happened to be a couple by the name of Aquila and Priscilla. They could see that his preaching was a little "off," so what did they do? They didn't lambaste him publicly. They didn't bring him up for heresy charges in the Presbytery. They didn't haul off with a vituperative book against him.
They took him aside privately and instructed him more accurately---to their credit. And Apollos listened attentively and allowed himself to be corrected---to his credit. And the new and improved Apollos, encouraged, suddenly desired to go preach in Achaia, which he did with the blessings of A & P. And "when he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed" (Acts 18:27).
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