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From August 2018: How do you pray when you don’t know how to pray?

This was a blog from my academy teaching days. There's a lesson I still wish to remember, and I'd like to share it with you:

This is our first day back. The formal name is Teacher’s In-Service. The whole faculty has gathered in the main auditorium and we are readying to get our scholastic “sea legs” back. We will attend numerous meetings ranging from First Aid to scheduling changes to parental communication to teacher supplies. We’re even spending individual time cleaning and preparing our classrooms.

However, in the midst of the morning activities, we stopped for an important part of our spiritual preparation: the Prayer Walk. For over an hour, we were given the freedom to go about the campus property – either alone or with others – and pray to God the Father over the school-year ministry about to take place at various locations.

Teachers were praying in the science lab.

Teachers were praying in the front lobby.

Teachers were praying at the football field.

Teachers were praying in the cafeteria.

I went to some locations alone, but after a bit I got tied up in my communication with God. I was not sure what else to pray. I felt that my prayers were, well, incomplete.

Then it hit me this afternoon. In thinking of the second coming of Christ…

Matthew 24:36 : “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven nor the Son but the Father alone.”

We know the Jesus Christ is coming back, and we are to be ready. Of course we know that; it’s what we teach here at the school. We don’t know when, but we do know it will happen.

Verse 37 tells us we must be ready, using the example of Noah:

“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah, for as in those days which were before the Flood, they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark.”

I need to remind you that eating and drinking were not sins that brought about judgment; that’s not the point Jesus was making. Marrying and giving in marriage are not portrayed as sinful acts. After all, everybody must eat and drink, right? A normal part of society is the generational marrying and giving in marriage as well.

The point is this: Life was going on as usual. The people’s workaday distractions of life made them indifferent to what Noah was saying. Think of it: For 120 years, Noah has been building a behemoth of a ship in a desert region. While he was building, he was giving warnings.He preached judgment in the form of rain, turning into a flood. The people ignored him (“must be a nut case”) and went about their routine.

They didn’t prepare.

Verse 39 says the flood came, and they perished.

So shall the coming of the Son of Man be.

People won’t be ready to hear because they are in a routine. Life as usual…

Then it hit me.

We aren’t prepared, either to listen or to preach. We’ve lost the excitement of the magnificence of Christ’s return. Why? We’re in a comfortable routine. Life is going on as usual for us as well. We are in a routine of markets and mealtimes, the internet and the NFL. We’re as much in the routine as everyone around us.

God is speaking loud and clear to me: break your routine. Guide your students away from the comfortable walk of daily self-gratification and self-congratulation. Look at life with the Savior. Do not see life as usual.

I know how to pray now.

Lord, take way the “usual way of things.” Make things unusual here, in the classrooms and in the halls. Make this campus see the dynamic, not the usual. Help our vision to be aimed toward the spectacular revelation of Christ and make our hearts energized by the Shekinah glory that can come.

I don’t know what You will do, but please do it.

Take away the usual, Lord. Bring the magnificent You.

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