by David Phelps

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” – Mother Teresa

June, 2010

It seems odd for someone who is a born “techie” like me to admit it but I’m something of a Luddite at times. I rebuild and repair computers, I’m part of the team that maintains the church’s web site, and yet there are some technological ideas that I just don’t “get,” like “Twitter,” for example. That said, I recently dragged myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century and bought a “Bluetooth” headset.

For those of you who have been living in a cave, a “Bluetooth” headset is what those people use who are constantly having loud, inconsequential conversations with other people who aren’t there. Either that or they’re mentally disturbed. You clip the headset to your ear and it combines a tiny speaker and microphone that allow you to carry on a cell phone conversation without the need to hold the phone to your ear. In self‑defense, I don’t normally do that myself. But I have to use a cell phone at work, frequently while I’m driving, and I needed a way to keep both hands on the steering wheel. In that respect, my headset is great and I’m rapidly finding it indispensable.

According to the instructions that came with mine, “Bluetooth” technology “. . . will create a unique and encrypted wireless link between two Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as a Bluetooth phone and your Bluetooth headset.” Furthermore, this creates “. . . a private link between only these two Bluetooth devices.” This means no one else can overhear your conversation unless you’re speaking really, really loudly like the people I mentioned previously. And even then they can only hear one side of the conversation.

As I read about this remarkable technological breakthrough, I thought of another miraculous means of communication: Prayer. Each prayer is unique, it’s private, and it’s only between you and God (Matt. 6:6). You can talk to God any time, anywhere, about anything. You don’t even need to know what to pray because
“. . . the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And . . . the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Rom. 8:26b, 27b ESV).

Prayer was a hallmark of all the great and not-so-great men and women of God. Moses prayed repeatedly for the people of Israel (Num. 11:1-2; Deut. 9:16-29). The prophet Samuel said it would be a sin for him to stop praying for the people (1 Sam. 12:23). When he dedicated the temple, Solomon called it a place of prayer (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr. 6-7). Jesus often went off to pray by himself, even though he was God, sometimes all night (Luke 6:12). After the last supper, he prayed for the disciples and for those who would come after them (John 17).

Solomon wrote in Proverbs that “The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” (Prov. 15:29 ESV). And Paul told the Christians in Ephesus to keep “. . . praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” (Eph. 6:18a ESV [emphasis added]). What might happen if we prayed constantly? If we never stopped? If we dedicated every free moment to prayer? If we prayed about every action, every decision, and every situation, and truly believed there would be an answer? If we routinely offered to pray for coworkers, acquaintances, and neighbors? If prayer were a  normal part of our lives and everyone around us knew it? What would our lives and our world be like? Prayer was one of the characteristics of the early church. Luke writes in Acts Chapter 1 that “. . . All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, . . .” (Acts 1:13b-14 ESV [emphasis added]). This is how we can be witnesses for Christ and for the Christian faith, by simply doing what we should be doing anyway. James wrote, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (Jas. 5:16b ESV). Imagine what our witness would be like if we unleashed that power in our lives.

“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:5b-7 ESV.)

Copyright © 2010 by David Phelps