I think one of the greatest hindrances to effective prayer happens when we begin to think that God is like us. When we try to bring God down to our level and understanding, we tend to reduce prayer to ‘figuring out the ask/receive system’ in order to persuade Him to do something… and then we proceed to tell Him what to do and how to do it.
We can take on more of the nature of God (by His doing) but He is nothing like us – He will always be totally other. We need to stay in the discovery mode and be open and eager for anything and all that He might do or say. (I think of this as part of what it means to fear God.)
Do you approach God this way? It’s an attitude/heart posture as we pray our heart’s desires and specifics of what we think we need/want.
Remember that what He plans and promises (His way) is so much better/higher than what we can think or imagine. Isa. 55:9; Eph. 3:20
And so I pray for you what I pray for me, “Lord, teach me to fear God and hate sin while I stay in the discovery mode with eyes fixed on You.”
Have you ever just sat quietly with the Lord not saying anything and just trying to center your thoughts on being aware of His Presence? (Is that even possible?)
Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait in silence for God only, my hope is from Him.
Does that seem like a waste of time… just sitting with Jesus, ‘doing nothing’, not asking for anything, not declaring anything, not saying anything at all but just delighting in His Presence?
I think I’m convinced more can be accomplished sitting in silence with Jesus ‘doing nothing’, than in roaring around trying to get a sense of accomplishment. (He knows what we need before we ask.)
Once we get ‘in tune’ with Him and aware of His Presence, we can’t help but erupt in words of praise and adoration and thanksgiving. (Then act in response to His leading.)
Do you struggle with what to pray and feel like your prayers are not very effective? Suggestion….
“Pray through the Bible. Prayer was never meant to be a monologue; it was meant to be a dialogue. Think of Scripture as God’s part of the script; prayer is our part. Scripture is God’s way of initiating a conversation; prayer is our response.” Mark Batterson
Begin your day with reading the Bible and listening for God to choose the subject and begin the conversation. Then simply respond back to God in prayer regarding what He says to you.
Then when there’s a pause in the conversation, be sure to pour out what’s on your heart to the Father who is eager to hear and to help. And be sure to thank Him for the answers.
And since He is always with you and in fact lives in you, the conversation can continue throughout the day.
I hope you’re using the 40 Day Prayer Guide pastor Dave put together for us! There’s POWER in a whole church praying together of one heart and one mind!
“We’re often so anxious to get out of difficult, painful, or challenging situations that we fail to grow through them. We fail to learn the lessons God is trying to teach us or cultivate the character God is trying to grow in us. We’re so focused on God changing our circumstances that we never allow God to change us! So instead of ten or twenty years of experience, we have one year of experience repeated ten or twenty times. …If we’re being completely honest, most of our prayers have as their chief objective our own personal comfort rather than God’s glory. We want to pray away every problem, but those shortsighted prayers would short-circuit God’s perfect plan.” The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
I’m guilty. Are you?
Often God does want to change circumstances if we’ll just ask, but it takes a willingness to go through them, to wait for His timing and His perfect will in order to discern the difference.
God promises victory regardless. And most of the time we’re not facing a ‘life or death’ situation. But even then…
“Just as it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:36-37
Let’s pray in full assurance that God is working His perfect plan.