It’s true that up to now some of us have not really understood why prayer should be something important to consider. But of course we are all wrong. But why do modern education and Hollywood, the two major purveyors of unprayerful cultural values, still not get the point? The answer is found in a brief history of prayer. Prayer began in the Garden of Eden. God made the first family, Adam and Eve. He talked to them as in, “Adam, name the animals.” Adam then needed to talk with God about the lack of finding a gender counterpart for himself (Genesis 2:18-20). Eve was clearly communicative, and with access to just two other sentient beings in the garden, she spoke to her husband and prayed to God. Thus, we have the first prayers. Then came the snake. But where was God when the Devil tempted Eve? God was standing by in the garden, (where else would He be after creating the first two human beings?) waiting for them to pray for His counsel about whether serpents should talk, or for His help to come whack the snake. He was waiting for a prayer they didn’t pray, while they left themselves without a prayer against the deceptive, misinformative powers of the Adversary (Genesis 3:1-6). Afterward, “they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8). At the most critical moment, Adam and Eve refused to pray to God for help. Thus they made the most colossal mistake in human history! Then, instead of praying for forgiveness, they hid themselves from God—and mankind has been hiding from God ever since. For centuries humanity hid behind idols of stone, metal and wood (plastic, celluloid and digital disks hadn’t been invented yet). With idols, you could make your own god in your own image, rather than the other way round (Genesis 1:26-27). You could easily hide behind a god you’re comfortable with, who doesn’t get in your face … because who cares? After all, your god isn’t a “who”! But beware the hollow downside. Praying to a god who isn’t there, who is made in your image, is a lot like praying to yourself. Big help that is! And as we both know, people make poor gods. Yet through it all, true prayer to the true God lived on in the lives of the faithful few. And just past halfway through human history, prayer got uniquely clarified. Clarified by Jesus whose role was “prayee” (on the receiving end of prayers) before His human birth, and who came to know directly what it was like to be the “pray-er”. Interestingly, One Burundian president Nkuruziza impresses nay-sayers and yea-sayers alike for two reasons: his prayer and his faith. What a fascinating combination! He used to be both respected and vilified because of his religious beliefs. Once Jesus found a fig tree with nothing on it but fig leaves—like the ones Adam and Eve tried to hide behind (Genesis 3:7). Being hungry, He cursed that tree and it withered and died in a day. Impressed, His disciples had to know how the poor fig could give up osmosis so soon. Explaining how faith and prayer go together, Jesus told them and us that if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can fry fig trees too! What’s more, you can tell a whole mountain to go jump in deep blue sea, and it’ll happen! “And whatever things you ask in prayer believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:18-22). Great power—prayer mixed with faith—is available to all who truly believe. In the history of prayer it’s the great, untapped power. It has been rediscovered by some like President of Burundi Nkuruziza and Bush, but is missed by the most of mankind because we’re always hiding from God—hiding behind the fig leaves of modern education, wrong-valued Ugawood, idolatrous materialism and whatever else. It’s time to come out from behind the trees of the garden and write your own history of prayer to the God of true faith who made you!.
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