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Christian Living Prayer

Pencil, or Permanent Marker?

A video devotional from Our Daily Bread talks about the purpose of prayer. The clip shares how an interviewer once asked Mother Teresa what she said to God when she prayed. The Catholic nun and missionary replied, “I do not say anything. I listen.” The bewildered reporter followed, “Well, what does God say to you?” The tiny woman ended the conversation with this: “God doesn’t say anything. He listens.”

For all the prayers I’ve thought or said, there have been times when words simply wouldn’t come. Listening was my best option.

I know… we should approach God’s throne with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). But acting with such bold consistency isn’t always easy. Some life situations can (and do) leave you speechless. Especially when you don’t see them coming. So what should you do when you’d rather not pray to God in all CAPS with a permanent marker?”

Lord, do You accept prayers in pencil?

I say He does. Penciled prayers are “listening” prayers, spoken with groans that words can’t express (Romans 8:26-27). Is this what Mother Teresa meant when she said, “I listen?”

Yet Jesus said when a person prays in faith what they ask for happens (Mark 11:22-24).

But must we chisel our prayers in stone?

Nope. I’m not a “stoner.”🥺There are plenty of times in the Bible when folks on the ground got it ALL wrong. God makes it clear that He doesn’t think or work the way we do (Isaiah 55:8-9). Pencil and eraser prayers are fine by me, thank you. I may need to edit.

The devotional also noted that Jesus often went off by himself to pray. He spent the whole night like this before choosing His disciples (Luke 6:12-13). I bet He did more listening than talking.

“Prayer is spending time with the One you love,” concluded the woman on the video. AMEN! Permanent marker or pencil –speaking or listening–it’s about quality time with the Father.

“So let’s learn, let’s press on to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, as the spring rain waters the earth.” – Hosea 6:3 (NASB)


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