August 21, 2022
Have you ever wondered how people can spend thousands of dollars on a painting, of all things?
Or how someone can stand for twenty minutes in front of a Rembrandt in a museum? Or how folks can ooh and ahh over a sculpture or an Ansel Adams photograph?
Do you ever scratch your head and wonder just what people see in art?
Or take music. Does it puzzle you that people buy season tickets to the symphony – and hardly miss a performance? Why do people listen for hours to Bach?
And what’s so captivating about a Mendelssohn concerto or a Strauss waltz or a Chopin minuet?
Oh sure, you admit they all have their fine points. Art and music are nice to occasionally dabble in, but come on – how is it that some people go overboard on such things?
If you feel that way…I understand. I used to shrug my shoulders toward art and music, too. I suppose I was lacking what they call “appreciation.”
But I also remember when that ho-hum, scratch-your-head attitude began to change. It all started when my art teacher sat down with me and started flipping through pages and pages of art books. At almost every page, he would stop and linger over a Monet print or a Cézanne reproduction. He would spend hours discussing the composition and color in a painting by Mary Cassatt.
At first I felt…well, bored. But the more I looked and listened, the more I began to appreciate. Spending time with the masters elevated my thinking. I began to see things I had never seen. The more I looked, the more was revealed, and the more I understood.
Now when I see someone stand for long minutes in front of a Rembrandt, I smile and nod my head. I can identify.
If you don’t appreciate good art, then go to a museum and start looking at good art. If you don’t appreciate fine music, go to a concert and listen to fine music.
I know people who have a similar struggle when they look at the prayer habits of others. They listen to someone getting all excited about spending a morning talking to the Lord, and can only shake their heads. They will be the first to admit they simply do not appreciate the work of prayer.
Frankly, the only way you and I can develop a real appreciation for prayer is to take a small step of faith and simply…pray. Prayer itself is an art which only the Holy Spirit can teach.
Pray for prayer.
Pray to be helped in prayer.
Pray until you appreciate prayer.
Like art, like music, like so many other disciplines, prayer can only be appreciated when you actually spend time in it. Spending time with the Master will elevate your thinking and strengthen your spiritual passion.
The more you pray, the more will be revealed. You will understand. You will smile and nod your head as you identify with others who fight long battles and find great joy on their knees.
You will appreciate not only the greatness of prayer, but the greatness of God.
The Glorious Pursuit
By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
Want to deepen your prayer appreciation – and the passion of your faith? If you’re new to the subject of prayer, start with five minutes. Right now.
Turn to one of the psalms of praise and recite God’s Word back to him as a prayer. Or pour out whatever is on your heart to God, as you would to a trusted friend.
Think back on the blessings of today or the day before and recount them in a litany of gratitude to the Lord. Tell him what you love about him.
Think of some areas in your life you’d like his help in changing – take a deep breath and confess those things before him, asking for his Spirit-inspired assistance.
Now go on with your day. But set another brief appointment with him tomorrow. And the next day. And the next…
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