Plug into Prayer
Plugging into Jesus has lasting effects.
When’s the last time you plugged in the device you’re reading this article on? Now look over at your gaming console or device—it’s charging isn’t it? It’s a common practice to keep things on standby when we need them to enjoy. Oh the horror when that enjoyable time is cut short by a dead battery!
When’s the last time you sought God like that through prayer—making sure you’re praying not just when things are difficult but also when times are easy? When is the last time you spoke with Jesus?
Now if you’re where a good number of Christians are, you may be struggling in this area (you don’t have to raise your hand). This is a battle I must fight also. There are no excuses for it, but there are a number of reasons:
- Consumed by instant gratification
- Thinking I’m doing God a favor
- Seeing prayer as a duty
- Attempting to solve problems by doing more
- Enjoying sin
- Enjoying God’s blessings more than God
This list isn’t comprehensive, but we need see the real situation here—if we treasured Jesus like we do our gaming habit, there would be much more of an awareness of God’s presence and much good works produced. I pray that’s sobering, but know there’s good news to our imperfect selves.
We’re in the process of sanctification, our hearts and minds being brought into the likeness of Christ Jesus by God. So know you’re not the only one who found digital games more enjoyable than spending time conversing with the God of all creation.
Anything without God is vain (Ec 1:2).
Have you ever had an itch you just couldn’t scratch? That’s what the yearning of the heart is for every human being. In our fallen world, ostracized from God, our hearts seek anything to fill the void to bring us satisfaction—anything except God.
Now in the life of the Church (being purchased back to God through the blood of Jesus Christ), God satisfies that itch as we were made to find our highest good in Him. But that old base yearning returns when we don’t become enveloped in our most prized Treasure, Jesus.
We’re so involved with our gaming that go beyond just playing—there are forums, cosplay, tournaments, midnight releases, etc. to express how much gaming means. Jesus isn’t to be placed on a shelf like in fine China either—more than all else, Jesus is to be received, handled, lifted up, cherished, praised and shared with everyone.
Prayer is a means to an end: God.
We do this all the time with other things we enjoy, just look at social media (or maybe not). We strive to maximize our time with the things we enjoy, so what’s the problem in spending time with Jesus? Sadly, the truth is that we don’t enjoy Him as he deserves to be…
Plugging into prayer is a means to fix our joy problem.
We aren’t beating up on ourselves—we don’t have the right. God loves us so much that He reveals His supremacy in all things and then gives us a way to access experiencing that supremacy in our lives.
If we will steal away from our disruptive gaming habits (playing anything, anytime, anywhere, anyhow with anyone), God would begin to move in our lives (2 Ch 7:14). He promised it! What are these habits disrupting? The most infinitely precious relationship we’ll have.
Through prayer, God reorients our priorities back to how they should be. The forgiving of our sins and healing of our lands is a restorative work leading back to God. We are then able to rest in any situation, because the one thing that cannot be taken from us is God.
Think of any disappointing gaming experience—I have quite a few ranging from gameplay to cancelled releases. They were frustrating because I set my heart on them. But Jesus never disappoints. I’m content in God. Now we just don’t come to that conclusion. There’s a practical flow in the text. We have to humble ourselves first, meaning that we must see God as high and lifted up! To paraphrase a quote:
Do you see God as tiny and unnoticeable, to be placed under a microscope to enlarge or do you see Him as world-sized and vast, so that you have to get a telescope to bring His grand details into focus?–John Piper
When we humble ourselves, we see just how vain any attempts we have at joy are in our lives apart from Jesus. Such a humbling will lead us to open our hearts and mouths towards God for our help and our fulfillment. See, it isn’t that we seek something through Him—we seek Him. That’s why the text says “seek my face.”
Prayer is a means to an end and that end is God. It’s not a disinterested conversation, like I’m doing God a favor—He’s doing the blessing in this transaction. He doesn’t need anything (Ps 50:12, 15). He gives the benefit of seeking Him. He is glorified and as He is glorified He’s fulfilling our joy. He’s infinitely giving, gracious and merciful!
God, with his mighty grace and mercy, frees us to turn from our sin to Him. Now the manifestation of our repentance is on display. God does open heart surgery, laying the groundwork for repentance and healing.
Do we need healing in our lives? Are there any emotional or mental wounds we carry around? Gaming hasn’t healed one signal of your pain. It hasn’t solved any problems. Lets tear down this idol in our lives. Let’s humble ourselves and let God re-prioritize our lives.
Let’s do it together. Let’s be encouraged by His strength. Let’s have our joy anchored in God. If we will rest in God, He won’t disappoint (Jn 6:37).