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Attitude to prayer

I have been skiing once - a long time ago. I was not very good at it. I fell over a lot. It was expensive. I needed to hire special gear that was cumbersome and felt uncomfortable. It took a lot of effort to get to the snow. It was crowded. I had to queue. I haven’t been back.

Of course I would love to ski. It looks like enormous fun. You get to spend time in the great outdoors experiencing nature, swooshing along at high speed, exercising your body, living life. But there are so many other things to do. Quite frankly, skiing hasn’t been a high priority and I think at my age the horse has bolted. God bless the skiers! I just don’t think I’m one.

And that’s OK. But sometimes my attitude to prayer is a bit like my attitude to skiing. And that most definitely is not OK.

Elisabeth Elliot, Christian author and wife of martyred missionary Jim Elliot, makes the following comparison: ‘Recently I found that I often treat prayer as though it were a sport like skiing – something you do if you can afford the trouble, something you do if you are good at it’.

How different is the Apostle Paul’s attitude: ‘Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints’ (Ephesians 6:18). We don’t have to make God’s Olympic Prayer Team. Prayer is for amateurs who plug away and find strength to excel through Jesus Christ our Lord.