Richard Exley Ministries


Prayer Is A Privilege
Posted on May 19, 2008

While I am truly thankful for the privilege of prayer I must confess that I’ve never been very good at it. My mind wanders. I get distracted or I put off praying until the demands of the day crowd it out. Over the years I’ve tried any number of things to improve my prayer life – joining a prayer group, writing out my prayers, keeping a prayer journal – and while they work for a time I soon find myself slipping back into my haphazard way of praying. It embarrasses me to tell you this but I don’t feel I can write about the privilege of prayer without coming clean about my own inaptitude.
 
I know all the things I should do – reserve a special place to meet with God, have a set time for prayer, make myself accountable to another person, preferably someone who has mastered the discipline of prayer, and most of all pray whether I feel like it or not. After all we learn to pray the same way we learn to ride a bike – by doing it. I know the importance of praying the Scriptures and of praying God-centered prayers rather than need-centered prayers. My problem isn’t knowledge but discipline. I know all I need to know about praying I just don’t pray as faithfully as I should.

Although I’ve received many remarkable answers to prayer, which we will get to in a minute, I still grow weary of praying when my prayers seem to be making no apparent difference. I mean, why pray if nothing changes. Reminding myself that when one fills a pond the first hundred truckloads of rock disappear under the surface of the water without leaving a trace helps some but I still have to struggle with discouragement. Reminding myself that the primary purpose of prayer is not petition but relationship, about spending time with the Lord, helps some. Unfortunately it is often as hard for me to sense His presence as it is for me to see His answers.

If prayer is so frustrating, you may be wondering, why do I continue praying? I’m sure a sense of duty has something to do with it but it is more than that.  At the core of my being I have a heart hunger for God, a yearning to know Him and be known by Him. It is an “itch” that only prayer can scratch. I may not be very good at prayer, I may even stray from it from time to time, but always I am drawn back. What breath is to my body prayer is to my spirit. Without prayer I simply cannot survive.

Category: Dealing with Crisis

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Buenos Aires by Night
Posted on May 01, 2008

 The night was electric as we made our way to the downtown location of Centro Cristiano Nueva Vida where Guillerom Prein serves as senior pastor of a church with a weekly attendance numbering nearly 29,000.[i] The downtown location is one of four venues where forty services are held each week in order to accommodate this thriving congregation. Although my brother Don set a brisk pace as we headed toward the theater where the service was to be held I found myself lagging behind, fascinated by the throngs of people crowding the streets at 9 pm on a Thursday evening. Street vendors were laying out their wares and a short distance away a street musician was singing a love song, his guitar case open beside him. I paused to listen while a solitary couple slow-danced on the sidewalk, oblivious to the crowds rushing by. Belatedly I realized that Don was nearly out of sight and I hurried to catch up, almost colliding with a harried waiter who was trying to deliver a sizzling steak to a nearby table in a bustling sidewalk café. 

 

Catching up with Don I couldn’t help thinking that I was a long way from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Geographically Buenos Aires, Argentina, may be only 5,000 miles from Tulsa but culturally they are a million miles apart. Spiritually they are worlds apart as well. While the American church has been discussing postmodernism, the emergent church, seeker sensitive services and the latest technology for enhancing worship, the Argentine church has been in the midst of one of the greatest moves of God in history. When my brother and his wife arrived in Argentina in 1976 there wasn’t a single Pentecostal church larger than 100 people. Now in Buenos Aires alone there are several Pentecostal congregations with weekly attendance numbering more than 25,000. Signs and wonders abound, evangelism is a passion and the worship is vibrantly alive!

Category: Ministry

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