Thoughts On Life And Prayer (Jonah Oh)

Even as I write this, I’m thinking about what status will get the most ‘likes’ on Facebook, how I can network more efficiently on Linked In, and what’s trending on YouTube.

Sometimes, I run into something valuable like this, most times, I waste time on things that could be better spent elsewhere.

I’m not going to lie – when Timeline was first released, I was bothered, not because of it’s unique ability to bring skeletons of my past to life, but rather by how much time I’ve put into Facebook. Isn’t it ironic that for a generation who likes to communicate and build circles (a Google thing…), we can’t find fulfillment in communicating with God?

“Isn’t it ironic that for a generation who likes to communicate and build circles (a Google thing…), we can’t find fulfillment in communicating with God?”

Don’t get me wrong… I’m just as guilty as most people out there. In fact, I’m probably the last person that should be writing about prayer. The fact is I don’t pray enough. I rarely bless my food, I often ask for things, and whine when I don’t get my way. But over the past few weeks, I’ve had a sense of urgency to start reading, writing, and researching about this. Even more so, I’ve found that I have the necessity to pray.

I truly believe that this necessity, this desire is where prayer needs to stem from. Arguably the most quoted verse on prayer is 1 Thes. 6:17, “Pray unceasingly.” Seemingly simple, to pray without reservation is to commit oneself wholly to His glory. It is not a matter of finding the right words and saying them at a certain time; prayer is to be in constant consciousness of the presence of God. In other words, we should be habitually mindful of God in that Christ is at our core.

“It is not a matter of finding the right words and saying them at a certain time; prayer is to be in constant consciousness of the presence of God.”

Quite honestly, I am not sure if I know what this means. I do not even know if I have the capacity to do this. However, I do know that when I get home from a long day, Jesus is the last thing on my mind. Brutal.

So, how do we get Him to be the forefront?

For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be pondering, “Prayer.” I hope if anyone reads this series, we can be strengthened and become children who constantly think of their Father.

I used to like this girl. Not like…just ‘like’, but like… ‘like like’, you know? She was the type of girl that could melt the harshest frost, comfort weeping willows, and make the hills come alive with the sound of music. She was fantastic. She loved Jesus and I pursued her just like any other normal American-Asian boy would do – asked her dad, found favor with her mom (probably not so much anymore…), and finally asked her the big question, “Would you like to be my girlfriend?”

From the moment “Yes!” left her lips, my mind surged with euphoric fervor. Seemingly, every waking moment was anticipating and planning when we were going to be together, where we would go, what we would eat, and what we should do the next time we got together. I was on Cloud Nine. But as we continued this for a couple of months, I grew convicted.

I became infatuated with this relationship. I mean I put everything aside to be with her. I made sure I did all my homework, cleaned my car, and even listened to my mom. But I felt guilty because I was investing more time getting to know her than pursuing my love life with Christ. My love for Christ was never more than the occasional youth group meeting or Sunday morning service. And here I was setting aside part of my life for something so shortsighted.

Over the past fortnight, I’ve been contemplating what prayer is, what it should look like, and a myriad of questions that I don’t have the answers to. Perhaps the question that has weighed most heavily on my mind, however, is this: Why don’t we pray more often?

Why don’t we pursue Christ, or even want to spend time with Him like we do our girlfriends or boyfriends? How come I don’t want to talk with Him, even though Jesus desires to talk with me?

Is it because we don’t love Jesus enough? Maybe…

Is it because God doesn’t feel tangible, so we pursue others to fill the void? Possibly…

Here’s my take.

I truly believe that the reason why we don’t pray enough is because we don’t understand the Gospel to its fullest extent. At the core of the Gospel is the story of the Son of God, Jesus, who left His heavenly throne, remained fully God yet became fully man, lived a perfect life, bore our sins, died on a cross, and rose again, promising new life for those who believed in Him. Romans 10:9,10 says that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and we believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, then we will be saved. But the problem with this verse is that it forces us, humans, to humble ourselves and say, “I need you, Jesus.”

Think about it. From the beginning of humanity MAN has said, “I don’t need God – I can do it on my own…I’ll just eat this fruit, I’ll just build this tower, I can beat this giant, I can beat this game, I can call truth relative.” The list goes on.

When you don’t believe in the Gospel, you doubt God, and ultimately you don’t trust in His sovereignty. And when this is the case, it’s no wonder why my prayers seem so trivial and I lack the motivation to keep on communicating with Jesus.

But when you understand what the God-Man did for you, you begin to realize that you can’t do anything on your own power. You’re saying that you can’t breathe in your own air, keep your heart pumping, or your life from expiring.

Thankfully, Jesus said, “It is finished,” and we can place our hope into something very, very tangible. The next time you go to pray, humble yourself in the glory of the cross, and say, “I need you, Jesus.” Believe in the Gospel and let it transform you into one who is addicted to Jesus.

  • Jonah Oh