If you google ‘prayer’ there are 292,000,000 results. 292 Million! in 0.39 seconds!
Truly, our world has much to say about prayer. The Christian world has written many of the books on prayer. An amazon search for ‘Christian prayer’ list 50,631results.
The ruth is we can read and read and read, but we won’t learn to pray until we actually…pray.
I have been listening to Tim’s Keller’s book on prayer while I walk. It has many great truths. However, I realized that most of it is re-iterating what I already know about prayer. And how do I know these things? Because I learned them as a child, literally, at my father’s knee.
I was an eight year-old girl at our regular Wednesday evening prayer meeting when I first felt the nudge inside of me to pray publicly. So far, I had just listened to other pray-ers. And as I prayed I imitated what they, especially my father, had prayed. I am sure to an outsider it may have felt astounding or out-of-place or even comical.
But to the Lord, and my father, it was anything but that.
I may have needed to ‘grow into’ my prayers. But, the truth is, as I began to pray with others and to pray publicly, I was exercising the discipline of prayer. And through all of the ups and downs, the searching questions, the trials and the darkness, prayer has never left or disappointed me.
I want to show you why this is true. I also want to humbly offer to teach you how to pray.
In my next few posts, I will share the principles that have been most important in my own experience of prayer. It is admittedly a tiny offering considering all that is out there on the matter. But, I hope, too it is an honest and heartfelt expression of the life-changing reality of prayer.
How to Begin:
1. We Come Simply, Truly, Fully. When we pray, we take all that we are, our mess, our sin, our weakness, our doubt, our fear, our shame, our monumental insecurities and pair it with the faith we have. Though it be a mustard seed, this is all we need. We hold nothing back of our frail flesh. There is no facade before a holy God. And, in this way, we come simply, truly, fully to prayer.
2. We Come Keeping First Things First. Much of what is wrong with prayer is that we often don’t begin with what is most important. We come in moments of need with our requests. We come, too, confessing our guilt. But, we often forget to come adoring God for who He is. This is a discipline of the heart which transforms our prayer life.
3. And So We Come. When we know how to come to God and how to begin praying, it is only left to do just this. Take 5 minutes right now to adore God. Begin with ‘Praise You Lord, You are…’ And name everything He is: loving, faithful, good, compassionate. Use passages like Lamentations 3:21-25 or Psalms 103. When we come as we are to a holy God through the blood of Christ, we are changed. As we adore Him for who He is and glory in the power of His redemption, none of our petitions seem the same. When we come and adore Him, we become full of Him to such a degree that our will surrenders to His. At the same time, our faith increases as we behold our God. Thus, we find ourselves boldly interceding with great faith.
I want to remind you, I am still very much in process. But one thing that has been helpful, is to learn to check my heart. If I find I have been throwing up petitions throughout the day, I stop every other prayer and simply focus on adoration. For some, a disciplined time each day to praise God as the beginning of that day’s prayers will work best.
Regardless, as we keep our prayer lives in order, we will see God move in powerful ways.
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