I hear many voices in my mind these days. Don’t worry I am fairly sure they are all real voices (fairly sure). They are all the voices competing for mental energy, and more specifically my time. I get them from work, I get them from family, I get them from friends and the loudest ones come from inside myself. Lately, they have been seeming to get louder and louder.
One of the opening scenes of the new Superman movie has a young Clark Kent failing to control all of his super hero abilities. He is caught off guard by them and they conflict with one another in his mind. They are all incredible attributes but when out of control in the body they are disabling. This is what it feels like during times when life seems out of control.
I believe it is because we all have these different voices, or distractions if that makes you more comfortable, that we have been given the gift of prayer from God. There are at least three ways that prayer provides us relief from the daily noise.
First, prayer calls us to a quiet and silent place. This is one of the most valuable instructions given to us from Jesus. Even before he models how we should pray he reminds us where we should pray. We should never ignore the physical example set by Christ. He was constantly retreating to alone places and spaces in order to silence the voices of the crowds and disciples. We not only are called to follow Jesus mentally and spiritually but all physically. We gain tremendous benefit when we withdrawal from the noise of daily life.
Second, prayer calls us to be aware of the moment. Prayer is meant to draw our attention to the two most important things we do with our days. The first of those is to love God. The first half of The Lord’s prayer draws us towards the plans, the holiness, and the personality of God. It reminds us that nothing is so great in our life that God cannot help walk us through it. He delights in us and is doing tremendous things with our lives. He is in the business of making our lives count for his glory’s sake.
The second is that prayer teaches us to handle all of the people around us. When we are lost with how to love someone God teaches us to take it to him in prayer. Even more than this though he gives categories to consider. Do we need to forgive, do we need to be thankful, do we need to self examine, or do we need to refocus? The beauty of prayer is that it can become the radically most practical thing you can do when you are overwhelmed by what to do next.
Finally, prayer reminds us that God is never surprised by what happens in our life. Some people might find it frustrating that God knows every ounce of our prayer life even before we pray. He doesn’t need to hear our to prayers because he already knows him. This leads many not to pray. However, I would contend that the most beautiful way that God imparts his love to us is by being so incredibly predictable.
Think of the husband leaving for work in the morning and he leaves by telling his children and wife that he loves them. Then he quickly hears the response back from them. In many ways it will be the most comforting thing he hears all day even though they all knew it was true without anyone having to say it. However, what happens when the “I love you” statements don’t come back? What if your family didn’t respond back to you? It is almost chilling to think about. So much reassurance and love is communicated when the answer is already known but the question is asked anyway. There is great hope in the predictable.
So when the daily voices and distractions come remember to take a moment, clear your head, and draw near to your Heavenly Father.