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"We exist to train God-hungry people in the disciplines of prayer."
by Dick LaFountain

The Fun Factor of Prayer

"He maketh me smile."

Miriam Webster defines "fun" (noun) as anything that is pleasing and causes happiness. Football can be fun but it is work, sweat, injury, and sometimes tears. It is still fun. Work can be fun if you enjoy what you are doing. Yet, when it comes to prayer hardly any of us consider it to be fun. By fun I mean enjoyable or pleasurable.

In my one of my ordination papers I reviewed E.M. Bounds book titled Power Through Prayer. I took issue with the author because he made prayer sound so hard, so laborious, so legalistic, so un-fun, that who would want to pray? I have found prayer to be one of my favorite activities. Prayer is pleasure. Prayer is passion for God. Prayer is about the presence of God, and "in His presence is fullness of joy."

John Piper so eloquently calls it the enjoyment and delight of God. He emphasizes the foundational truth that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." According to John Piper, our happiness in God should be the driving motivation in our life, not duty.

The Westminster Catechism states that "the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." So I ask; whatever happened to enjoyment in prayer? If prayer is about the work of listing our urgent requests to God, where is the pleasure, where is the enjoyment in that, where is the fun factor?

The great prayer warrior George Mueller when asked about the secret of his prayer life replied,

"…the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished."

God did not put Adam in the Garden of Eden to work. No, work was God put him there primarily to fellowship with him in the cool of the day. It is only when we forget that God loves to walk and talk with us, not just hear our endless requests that we lose the joy of being with God.

We in our misunderstanding of God make prayer a tool to manipulate God's will rather than a resource to obtain that precious will and mind of our Heavenly Father. We seek to thwart Him who sits upon the throne, by asking myriads of wishing well petitions while wholly ignoring God himself. We don't have time for God, so we hurry in and out of his presence like a drive-through window at Wendy's.

Hurry takes the fun out of prayer. Contrary to our western mentality prayer is not about moving the hand of God. God is quite able to move his hand, thank you. Prayer instead is about finding God, experiencing God, delighting in God, and finding pleasure in God alone apart from the things He can give us. We don't meditate, contemplate, or bask in the presence of God and wonder why He seems so far away.

Waiting on the Lord is not in our vocabulary. Why should we wait? We are in the twenty first century where everything is instantaneous, instant coffee, minute rice, microwave popcorn, cell phones, and the internet have brought us a step closer to instant gratification. So, we think, why can't I get instant gratification from God too? Isn't prayer about getting stuff from God. We are only interested in the hand of God and have no use for seeking His face or the whisper of His voice.

I have found the "fun" factor to my prayer life. It is not the disciplines of prayer that make me enjoy the act of praying. It is not the satisfaction of telling God all about my needs and wants. The fun is in basking in His manifest presence. It is in being alone with God and finding Him to be fun indeed. He is the joy of my life. He makes me smile. We have fun together.

My goal in life is to know God so well and have so much fun with Him that he takes me to be with Him always: "Enoch walked with God and he was not for God took him."

John Piper Quote
"You don't truly know someone until you know what makes them happy. Our pleasure is the measure of our character. So it is with God. We can only know the greatness of His glory if we know what makes him glad. Therefore we must understand "the pleasures of God."

I recommend you read a couple of "fun" books - Desiring God by John Piper, and Calvin Miller's Into The Depths of God.