“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” – Gandhi

We have a tendency to view prayer a lot like we do the commercialization of Christmas.  We make our lists, we check them twice, and we deliver them with the expectation that we’ll get everything we want.

I know I’ve fallen into this trap quite a bit – viewing prayer as a laundry list of items that we feel like we want or need from God.  We go through the morning or nightly routine and run down our checklist of the things we want to ask God… and that’s it.  Much like Christmas, we expect that when the time is right (i.e. usually our time instead of God’s time) our answers/presents will be delivered.

Prayer is so much more than talking to God, though.  It’s listening as well.  Prayer is that longing of the soul.  It is confession.  It is intercession.  It is praise!  When was the last time you showered God with praise during your time of prayer?  When was the last time you came to the throne in silence and solitude to listen patiently for a word from God?

This Advent concept of “expectant waiting” on the Lord isn’t just a helpful thought for the Christmas season, it’s one we can use to help grow our faith all year long.  Because spending a few moments to wait on a word from the Lord in prayer to encourage and deepen our faith can perhaps be even more valuable than whatever answers we seek.