Why must I pray? How am I supposed to pray? How do I know if I’m praying the will of God? These are just a few of the questions about prayer that most of us ask. While I would not even begin to claim that I understand everything about prayer, I would like to share some thoughts on the subject. So, please join me as we see what we can learn about this thing called prayer.
The first thing about prayer that stands out to me is the fact that when we pray, we are intentionally placing ourselves in a position to encounter God. We read in the Bible things about seeking the Lord, waiting on God, crying out to the Lord, and coming into his presence, well what does all of that mean? How do you do that? It’s in prayer. We cant (at this point) physically come into the presence of God. I can’t physically “enter his gates.” Prayer is the way I come to the Lord. Prayer is how I encounter the presence of the living God. (I understand about community & the Body, but we’re just talking about prayer right now.) I can come and talk to God, and what’s more, I can hear him speak to me. (Yeah, I said it.) No wonder we meet so much opposition when we endeavor to develop our prayer life. Through prayer I am communing with the living God. Why must I pray? I should think the answer is pretty obvious! In prayer, I’m meeting with God and he has the tendency to “rub off” on you. (And to rub stuff off of you as well!) It has been said that demons get alarmed when a Christian begins to read the Bible, but they TREMBLE when Christians begin to pray.
I heard pastor Dennis Hall once say that “how much we depend on God is a gauge of sorts as to a Christian’s maturity.” The mature disciple is one that depends upon God and prayer is perhaps the ultimate sign of this dependence. “But I thought that the more one matures the more independent he becomes.” Isn’t that what they tell us? Once again we need to be reminded that God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts. We seek a spiritual maturity that only comes through surrender and dependence on God. Our heart before the new birth cries out for independence and maturity according to the flesh, but the heart of the disciple relates maturity to his relationship with God. Let me ask you this, when Jesus said, “I do nothing of myself. I only do and say what I see and hear from the Father,” how do you suppose he saw and heard those things? You already know the answer-prayer, communing with the Father. What an example he gave us to follow!
Simply put, when we pray, we are meeting with God. We can’t really meet with him and not come away changed.
To be continued…