But if I asked a room full of people what they would rather talk about, prayer or tooth decay, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the winning majority chose to talk about the benefits of regular flossing.
For many, prayer was something we were taught to do in order to get something else. Right? That something else might have included a better day, a better job, a better outcome, a better future, or a better wife, but in any case, praying wasn’t the thing, getting something because of it was the thing. Prayer was a little like calling room service. Cool.
However, lots of us have virtually stopped praying because we’ve found prayer doesn’t often give us the something else we wanted. Prayer has become more about disappointment than fulfillment, so how many of us who have been around awhile really want to do it anymore? I mean, c’mon—if a strategy doesn’t work, why would you keep doing it?
But before I was taught how to strategize my life by praying the "right way," I accidentally got to know God in prayer. I found that God was like my own personal fountain of youth—Ponce de Leon was on the right track, he just looked in the wrong place. God showed Himself to be like a spring of water that I could visit anytime simply by taking a few steps away from the dry flatlands of the visible and temporary world, toward the rich and satisfying peaks of the invisible and eternal. My best expression before prayer was, “I simply want to be with you!” In other words, “I thirst.”
If God is, in fact, like a spring of life, a fountain of revival—and He says He is—then all I have to offer Him is my thirst. I can do that. The best way to glorify my Mountain Spring is to get to it as often as possible and to drink to the full, to drink to satisfaction. It would be foolish to drag water from the flatlands up to the spring, there to pour it in, hoping to make something more of it, hoping to make it go somewhere else or look different. Or maybe we could get a bucket brigade going to make a really impressive watering hole, set up some floodlights to illuminate it, and add on some related attractions to get people up the hill.
Prayer is bringing to God my thirst for Him. The way to please the Mountain Spring, the way to please God is to come to Him to get and not to give, to drink and not to water. Every time I approach the Spring it is because I have found its water to be everything I need—that’s how God is glorified by me. I believe He is who He says He is, and my efforts related to wanting Him and finding Him is how the spring of living water now in me bubbles up as His satisfying life for me and through me. He has planned for that.
So whatever it is that makes me thirsty—frustration, chaos, futility, lust, covetousness, hopelessness, envy, weakness, arrogance, pride, anger, unbelief, or gas prices—I want to be quicker and quicker to head for water. And since He now lives in me, since the Spring is so close, I can silently turn my thoughts toward Him in the confident hope that satisfaction and water await. Anything(!) that surfaces my need is the avenue toward the Spring. My satisfaction and His glory through meeting the need are the result. You and I are set up for this.
So if prayer is about drinking, have one on me.