What a unique group of people we would be at Bethlehem if prayer never spoiled the party—if we were the kind of people who were on such intimate terms with Jesus that he was never felt to be a party-pooper. There are lots of Christians who would consider their good times utterly flattened if someone suggested a word or song of prayer. I know, because I used to be one of them. Spiritual freaks, I used to think—people who even thought of praying at a party! What’s a party got to do with prayer? Nobody dances to a dirge.
Things have changed. The Bible has soaked a little deeper into my life. For example, James 5:13,
Is anyone among you suffering?
Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful?
Let him sing praises.
If your life is falling off the sad side of the world, pray. If your life is flying toward the happy side, praise. Pray at funerals. Praise at parties. From one end of life to the other and everywhere in between pray! pray! pray!
Of course you don’t dance to a dirge. But how stunted I was spiritually to think that prayer is only for melancholy moments! God knows that life is made up of sad times and happy times. And there is no time he does not want to be a part of. If the party is good, it’s a gift from God. If it’s not good it ought to be pooped. And if it’s a gift from God, how can it not be made better by saying “Thank you”? The only party Jesus ever pooped was a party where the spirit was contrary to his Spirit.
Isn’t it true that, if you died with Christ and now have a new life driven by faith in him, then he is part of all you do? Consistent Christians never want to exclude Jesus from anything they do. In fact, the more real his presence, the happier the party.
One of my prayers during prayer week is that we might become the kind of people who can break into prayer or praise at any gathering and not feel like anything is spoiled. I pray that we might become utterly unselfconscious in our language about Christ and our expressions of love to him. Why not plan in 1983 to offer a word of thanks to God with your guests before you send them home? Tie a bow of blessing around every happy evening. It will change your life (and theirs!).
Praying for a happy, spiritual people,