By Richard D. Dobbins
Some people have a very narrow definition of prayer. For them, it is an exercise in one-way communication. They do all the talking; God does all listening.
They give God His orders for the day. And when God does not do what they want Him to do, when they want Him to do it, they get very discouraged with life…and sometimes angry with God. Such immature believers seem to think that God exists to do their will.
But although does encourage us to make our requests known to Him, Jesus tells us that many of the things for which we pray would come to us even if we did not ask for them (see Matthew 6:3133). In the closing part of that passage, Jesus challenges us to seek first the kingdom of God.
We want to take a look at creative prayer from several angles: What is creative prayer? Creative prayer can make you a new creation; creative prayer can change the way you see your past; creative prayer can heal wounded relationships, and creative prayer can help you solve your problems.
What Is Creative Prayer?
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says we are to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” What Jesus is talking about here can be called “creative prayer.” He is asking you and me to recognize the supremacy of the unseen over the seen, of spirit over matter. Science has taught us to respect the power of the unseen. The material secrets of the universe are hidden in the invisible forces of nature. For example, take a look at the atom. Once it was thought to be the smallest indivisible particle, but modern science has exploded the atom. We have found out that not only can it be divided, but there is a whole universe of power there.
Likewise, the supernatural is unseen, but it is not magic. Creative prayer is tapping into the unseen power of God. It is God performing His will at levels of understanding beyond our comprehension. Hebrews 11:3 says, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” By what power did God create the universe? By the Logos. By eternal life.
This is the same power that comes to us when we are born again. Through creative prayer, you can become aware of spiritual activity in your thought processes. You can develop the ability to know the difference between those urges, fantasies, and ideas originating from eternal life and those originating from sin. Developing this skill of discernment is basic to creative prayer.
Creative Prayer Can Make You a New Creation
We never pray a more creative prayer than when we ask God for Christ’s sake to forgive us our sins and enable us to be born again. In John 3 Jesus refers to being born again. He says just as we are born physically, we must be born spiritually. Until we are born spiritually, we have no way of perceiving or understanding the kingdom of God.
Until we are born again, that part of us capable of responding to eternal life is dead. Eternal life is an invisible power that emanates from Jesus, to which the unregenerate are insensitive. When we are born again, it is regenerated and we are able to respond to eternal life. That is, we can become sensitive to the urges, fantasies, and ideas that Jesus would stimulate in us. Second Corinthians 3:17 says that as we see the image of Christ reflected through the Scriptures we are changed from glory to glory into I His same image. Ephesians 4:23 refers to this as putting off the old man and putting on the new.
Creative Prayer Can Change the Way You See Your Past
Many people begin their Christian life with unpleasant memories from their past. Often these memories leave painfully deep marks. Although these memories are rooted in the facts of your personal history, through creative prayer God can help you change the way you choose to feel and think about those facts. Friend, you do not have to be a prisoner of your past. God has a new way for you to see your old hurts.
The story of Joseph in the Bible is a good example of the way God can change the way you see your past (see Genesis 37,39-45). His brothers were envious of him and wanted to kill him. They sold him into slavery in Egypt, where he suffered imprisonment but eventually was brought into a position of power under Pharaoh. It would be hard to believe that, when he was sold into slavery, he had a lot of love for his brothers. And it would be hard to believe that, when he was in prison, he really felt life was being fair to him.
You do not live with the facts of your history any more than Joseph did. You live with the story YOU tell yourself about the facts of your history. And that story can change from time to time. It can start out a bitter story and wind up being a better story. Creative prayer can change the way you see your past. It can give you a creative, redemptive way for interpreting hurting, bitter facts from your past.
Creative Prayer Can Heal Wounded Relationships
Genesis 32 gives us the beautiful story of how God healed Jacob of the ill feelings he had toward Esau. Jacob had fled Laban’s house with Rachel and knew he was going to have a reunion with Esau. The last time they had been together, Esau had sworn to kill him, and Jacob could not believe that Esau had changed his mind. So he was accusing his brother of harboring murder in his heart. All that night, Jacob wrestled with an angel, who touched his thigh, marked him, and changed his name to Israel. And the next morning when he crossed the brook Jabot and met his brother Esau, Esau threw his arms around Jacob’s neck and kissed him.
Remember bridges are built from two sides. Through the years God had helped Esau change the way he saw Jacob. But Jacob still saw Esau the same way. God can help you heal the wounded relationships in your family. He does not want to add to your pain, but if you and the other members of your family will let Him, God will give you different ways of looking at each other. He will bring healing to your wounded relationships.
Creative Prayer Can Help Solve Your Problems
Creative prayer can help you discover and define new options for solving the problems confronting you. It can help you define new options for decisions you have to make. As you meditate in prayer, learn to focus your thoughts on the matters requiring some judgment or decision from you. Ask God to help you define options for dealing with these matters. Then, in prayer, take each option and anticipate what the consequences would be in 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years if you chose that option. Pray out the consequences of each option in this same way.
Then you bring yourself back to a place I call spiritual neutrality. Spiritual neutrality is the willingness before God to take any of these options which He indicates to be His will for you. Tell God you are willing to do that. And ask Him, over time, to give you a divine attraction for the one that represents His will for you. When you finally discover it, the option that represents His will will be so wise and practical it will make you wonder why you could not see it sooner.
My friend, are you on talking terms with God? Is prayer for you more than just a matter of giving God His orders for the day? Is God making the supernatural practical in your life? He wants to. Creative prayer can make you a new creature in Christ Jesus. Creative prayer can change the way you see your past. Creative prayer can heal your wounded relationships. Creative prayer can help you solve your problems.
I pray that God will come alongside you right now and help you open your heart to Him. He can give you the courage to trust Him day by day and bring you into His highest and best for you from this day forward!
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY GUIDELINES FOR GOOD LIVING, A PUBLICATION OF THE MEDIA MINISTRIES OF THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD, VOL. VIII, NO. 92. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.