Pastor's Corner

Why do people love amusement parks?

by Daniel Ausbun

I’m writing this from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Over 47 million people visit and spend nearly six billion dollars at Walt Disney World every year. My last visit was 23 years ago. 

All nations, cultures and languages are accommodated. They have something for everyone.

What brings millions of people to Orlando while spending thousands of dollars? A simple answer: An experience. Disney has even coined the phrase, “My Disney Experience.”

Amusements parks are so popular, LifeWay Christian Resources, one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products, is using a roller coaster theme for their Vacation Bible School this summer.

If so many people love to experience amusement parks, wouldn’t they want to experience God? A growing number of Christians today are aware that something must be wrong. They know there has to be “more” to the Christian life than what they have experienced. That “more” is found through the discipline of prayer.

God will do some things whether we pray or not. But there are some things God will do only if we pray.

In many ways, our lives are the result of the prayers we’ve prayed as well as the ones we have not.

When I read the book of Acts, I am embarrassed. Why does America’s Christianity look so weak compared to the believers in the First Century? Where has the power gone? Has God changed, or have we?

We preach the same Gospel. Ours isn’t any less pure.

Our lack of spiritual power in Christianity today is not due to the sermons we preach or the songs we sing. Rather, it is due to our lack of prayer.

God is still on His throne.

He hasn’t changed. We do not pray like it’s important. Jesus and His earliest followers prayed like it mattered. We pray like it is inconvenient or inconsequential.

We plan more than we pray. They prayed more than they planned.

 We gather to minister to one another. They gathered to minister to the Lord in prayer and fasting.

Jesus made a priority of prayer. Mark 1:35 states, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there.”

Jesus set aside the mornings with His Father. Before His busy schedule, He spent time alone with His Father in prayer. For Christians, early mornings are primarily for prayer (Psalm 5:3; 143:8).

Before we read the paper, before we exercise or check emails. Before we communicate with anyone else in the morning, we should talk with God first. If Jesus made it a priority to pray while on earth, shouldn’t we?

He expects His followers to begin each day in an isolated place communing with the Father in prayer. This is what He had in mind when He said, “But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). 

One of the most encouraging things we can do for another person is pray for them. We should not take the prayers of others for granted. The only thing more encouraging to me than hearing that someone is praying for me is the fact that Jesus Himself is praying for me (Romans 8:34).

Jesus is for us, not against us, because He prays for us!

Do you want the best experience possible? Quit planning, ministering to others and wasting your life on yourself. Disney is a cheap imitation of the experience God offers.

Christian, the best decision you could make in your spiritual life is to experience God through prayer.

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