Have you ever wondered how birds are able to sleep without falling off of their perches? You see, when a bird bends its leg at the knee, the tendons cause the claws to contract and grip like a steel trap. The bird cannot let go until its legs are straightened again. A sleeping bird can teach a valuable lesson about prayer. The marketplace equates power with remaining “on top” in knowledge, wealth and status. God equates power with a willingness to “come under” like a bird, to bend the knee—deliberately yielding control and becoming dependent upon him.
King Solomon, the wealthiest, most influential man of his generation, spread out his hands and prayed, “Oh LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart . . . But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and earth cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, Oh LORD my God, listen to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you this day . . . (1 Kings 8:223-30)
Where is your strength today? Who are you counting on? Solomon’s father, David, modeled another great prayer for us:“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth . . .” (Psalm 121). And here is the prayer of a more contemporary disciple. After reading mine, you may want to compose one of your own.
Heavenly Father, I receive this day as a gift from You. I welcome Your companionship as I begin my work today. Fill me with Your Spirit so I can know your perfect peace. Surround me with Your protection in my car, at the office and in every meeting and call. You are my strong tower (a skyscraper!), and in You I find my identity and security (collateral!) Your power is far above my best efforts. Please grant me strength to do every task to which I put my hands. Enable me to think clearly, choose wisely, work diligently and communicate effectively. I know that every talent and skill I possess comes from you. I am honored to be your partner for the cause of your glory. Thank you, for entrusting me with a role in your kingdom. When I encounter a challenge or setback today, guide me toward an honorable and effective solution. When I begin to wear down, infuse me with your energy. When my emotions begin to fray, replenish my soul. When I am tempted to settle for mediocrity, remind me that I work for you. When I’m enticed to cheat or lie, prick my conscience. May every interaction with others bring hope, help and encouragement. When my day finally ends, give me a sense of satisfaction and trust that you are in control of my business and my life, and that I offered you my best. I lift up these requests up to you in the name of Jesus, my Savior and Friend . . . Amen.
“For now, do not worry about ‘proper’ praying, just talk to God. Share your hurts, share your sorrows, share your joys—freely and openly . . . We will discover that by praying we learn to pray.” Richard Foster