I find it interesting that in our society today everything can be “drive thru,” even prayer. Everything we do seems to be done on the way to something else and should be done quickly.
I mean no disrespect to this idea of having an evening when this church has a drive-thru prayer event and I am sure that if people want to, they can pull to the side and have a longer prayer with a parishioner.
But the concept to me begs the larger question of how we look at our spiritual disciplines.
Are they something that we do when we have an extra minute or two?
Are they something that we see as something that is secondary to our scheduled events and activities for the day, like games and practices and lunch out and work, etc.?
Having a “drive-thru” mentality when it comes to prayer and other spiritual disciplines such as devotion time, Bible study and meditation can be dangerous because it brings them one step closer to elimination from our daily routine and portrays to others that such things are not all that important.
But, as we all know from Scripture, prayer is extremely important and something that should be focused on regularly:
Pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Ephesians 6:18
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 2 Thessalonians 1:11
Then, why don’t we pray as often as we should or take it as seriously as we should? Mark Labberton, in his book The Dangerous Act of Worship, has some insight into that, which I find helpful:
Prayer can be hard, and apparently unanswered prayer can require discipline we may not readily have. Prayer may require us to face our theological doubts and longs. Prayer may cause us to face intractable evil. Prayer will lead us to times when we don’t understand God or his ways. This is all part of identifying with the God who shares our burdens and carries our sorrows (p. 151)
But that does not mean we should run away from prayer or push it to the corners of our lives. We are invited by God to embrace prayer even with all its uncertainties and difficulties and live in its complexity unafraid because we know that it brings us closer to God and closer to Christ, who loves us through and through.