The leaders of OPEN have been discussing building a culture of prayer throughout the network. So, what is a “Culture of Prayer”?

I would define culture as a community that embraces the same values and practices. What does that look like? Some see a “culture of prayer” as being consistently, constantly in communication with God, or living in close, deep relationship with him. How I see a “culture of prayer: is a bit different. Allow me to use JoJo, my 2 year-old granddaughter as an example.

The Difference Between Dependence…

JoJo is completely dependent on mom and dad for everything; for food, clothing, even going to the toilet. All her needs and wants are provided by Mom and Dad. As a 2-year-old, she has complete trust in her parents. There are no doubts. No questioning. Some might say “A 2-year-old has no choice.” True, but even so, the thought of having a choice never enters JoJo’s mind. Yes, she asks for things, even demands things from her parents at times, but nearly all her asks and demands are self-centered. When mom or dad fails to provide as she requests, she does not leave home to find another abode; that thought never even enters her mind. And when she is punished by dad or mom for wrong behavior, she does not strike back, nor reach out to a friend for justice, or say, “that’s not fair,” rather she submits to the penalty inflicted on her (yes at times with complaining or crying). When she asks for things on behalf of her sister or brother or others, mom and dad break into smiles with joy and hugs and usually answer such unselfish requests.

As a 2-year-old, she spends 90% of her time interacting with the family. Her world revolves around the family. She is in consistent and constant communication with mom and receives hugs and kisses, care and love from her parents returning the same to them—meaning she has a deep relationship. So JoJo has a consistent, constant, deep relationship with her parents. But that is not enough.

…And Companionship

Consider, when I live with my son and daughter-in-law, I too have these same things—a consistent, constant, deep relationship—however, what I do not have, what JoJo has, is dependency. Unlike JoJo, I am not dependent on my son for my needs. I do not have complete trust in my son and daughter-in-law to care for me. There are many things that I take care of for myself. Yet Jesus says, in Mark 10,

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.

NEVER ENTER IT. Whoa. Really? Really. It is God speaking.

If you are struggling in your relationship with God… answered prayer… heavenly thoughts…

Are you striving to be with God, or to be dependent upon God?


PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for other 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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