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How And Why We Pray

Man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has a first looked upon God’s face, and then descends from contemplating Him to scrutinize himself.

John Calvin

Alister Begg wrote, “If we are going to discover what it means to please God, we must come to a knowledge of God’s majesty and man’s misery. In doing so, we will face God’s holiness and perfection and His law, through which we become conscious of our sin.” Prayer is our chance to converse with our glorious God and be comforted by His plan for our lives. It is a chance to stop and rest and look into His face.

Have you ever noticed how a child will gaze in the eyes of the mother with love and utter devotion? Wonderful sight. I wonder sometimes if I will get that opportunity to gaze into the eyes of Jesus with the same wonder and devotion. In the meantime, prayer is a way to gaze into the eyes of Jesus.

Prayer is much maligned because of the tradition of formal scripted prayer. Is that what God calls us to do? I don’t think so.

Jesus spent an enormous amount of His time praying to the Father. He said that His mission on earth was to please His Father. We are also here to please the Father…in everything that we do and say, in every moment of every day.

Alister wrote a book, “Made for His Pleasure” which helps us understand what that means.

 

First, be utterly consistent in prayer. Daniel prayed three times a day. Daniel displayed to all who knew him the source of his dependence and the reason that he walked so close to God’s purpose for his life. So, consistency brought him closer to God and allowed him to know God’s will. Any athlete who wants to be great must train every day. That consistency can give them the edge to compete.

Second, the focus of our prayer should not just be our own enrichment, it must focus on glorifying God. Prayer that looks for personal blessing is one that won’t sustain. We need to focus on something much larger than ourselves.

Third, we should pray because we are God’s child. “We should not be like cringing, fearful slaves, but we should behave like God’s very own children, adopted into the bosom of his family, calling to him, ‘Father, Father’” (Rom. 8:15) There is something very wrong with a human relationship when there is no communication between children and their father. He longs to hear us and talk to us.

When I was brought up, I was given a number of prayers, for bedtime and meals and to ask for something. All the prayers were written out. I felt like I had to use those prayers because someone greater than me wrote them. I was never taught to talk to Jesus like his is my brother. So, I understand when someone finds this a hard lesson. Talking to God like he was sitting right across from you in a chair…is hard to imagine or do if you have never tried. You just have to sit in a room that is quiet and without distraction and imagine Jesus in the room with you. Then pour out your heart and then listen. Jesus talks to us in so many ways: books, signs, a passage in the Bible or a meditation book, or merely a thought that is present in our mind.

When we accept Jesus into our lives, He gives us His Spirit to help us. The Spirit is meant to be our tutor and comforter and brilliant interpreter. So just trust that Jesus is constantly talking to you and look for signs of His message. He hears everything that you say and ask. Like a branch grafted to a vine, we get all our food for life from the vine. Jesus is the vine for us.

Finally, we must trust God and desire His will if prayer is to be effective. God desires His name to be glorified. Be authentic and sincere in your prayers, since God is not interested in phoniness or hypocrisy. In prayer, your utter honest truthful self should come out. How comforting that we have a God that knows us in all our faults and still loves and pursues us.

Now pick a time that you will be able to pray each day. Whether that is the first thing in the morning or last thing at night does not matter, as long as it is consistent. It is helpful to have a Bible to read and meditation books to read to help stimulate the mind and heart. Make sure you have at least a half an hour to devote or the prayer will be rushed and ineffective.

My day is just not right unless I spend time with Jesus each morning. It is as if He is waiting for me downstairs near the chair I use to pray. He is sitting waiting patiently to talk and to direct and to comfort. It makes my day so much more joyful and meaningful. At the end of the day, all I can say is thank you Lord. Each day has become a day of devotion and constant prayer. I am, throughout the day, reminded of who is control and who deserves the glory. Each day I find joy in so many places I would not have ever thought would bring me joy. Walking with Jesus starts with talking with Jesus.

Proverbs writes the truth of that walk, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps” (16:9). Charles Spurgeon writes, “Meditation chews the cud and extracts the real nutriment from the mental food gathered elsewhere. When Jesus is the theme, meditation is sweet indeed…Let your heart go out and meet Him.”

 

 

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joe-sturnioloBy Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.

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