It’s a given we pray.
Or is it?
The disciples wisely asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” We need to learn. God makes it extremely easy to approach Him – the God of the universes. He paved the way – not just on the cross. Oh, on the cross, yes. But, He paved the way from the beginning. He made us for connection. He is relational and He created us as participants in, responders to and dwellers in His love. So, in some ways, abiding is prayer at its raw essence. You know when you know someone for years and you love them well and there is comfort and security in their presence? Words become somewhat unnecessary. Just being together is communion.
God draws us to Himself, yet we still need to learn, for our own sakes, how to enter into His presence and to trust Him well. We need to learn how to approach Him like a Father and how to pray over every little thing.
Throughout His Word, God is leading you to come to Him, to share your heart in the midst of all the range of emotions and experiences of your life. He calls you His friend and invites you to confide in Him. Jesus modeled intimacy with the Father and spent time alone withdrawing to pray. Paul encourages to pray on all occasions, to present your requests, to pray for the saints, pray in your anxiety, pray with thanksgiving. He constantly calls you to prayer. He may be calling all, but know that He is calling you. Don’t miss the intimacy of this invitation.
You may feel like you have been given a checklist and God is saying, “Check off the prayer box.” It’s not like He has told you pray at all times and in all places and then peers “down from heaven” while you are at the grocery store with two in the cart and one running ahead down the aisle and says, “Uh oh, she’s not praying. Tsk, Tsk, Tsk.”
You laugh, but the truth is that somewhere in the recesses of our hearts, we often think of God as being less than happy with us and way more demanding of us than He is. Psalm 103 assures us He is mindful of our frame. He knows.
He knows what you are made of because He made you. He calls you to a depth and connection in prayer, but He will bring you there. He knows you cannot muster a good and effective prayer life without Him. Hear His assurance to you: “though you do not know how to pray, the Spirit intercedes for you with groans you cannot understand.” He’s got you covered.
It does matter how we view God when we pray. Not in the way that some say. It isn’t a “faith” that makes God work for us. We don’t change His mind or make things go a certain way. He isn’t a vending machine or a short-order cook. He isn’t beholden to our commands or demands. Prayer isn’t an order given to God so that we get more comfort or our requests get met. Prayer allows us to enter into His presence as we are, learning to see Him for Who He Is. In this process we are transformed and our prayers become echoes of our connection to Him.
The prayer of faith avails much. I’m not making that up. Jesus said so. When we pray in faith, we are entering into the reality where Jesus lives. We are believing in Him and His goodness and His love for us. Faith involves knowing Him as He is and believing that He will do what is best. Prayers of faith do not guarantee circumstances will change, though they often do. Prayers of faith guarantee we will change – our perspective, our priorities, our passions – and through that inward change God moves mountains.
My prayer life has not always been constant or deep. I have struggled with prayer at times when I drowned in doubt and pain. I have had seasons when I felt my words hit the ceiling, bounced around and rattled out into space with no response. I have been bone dry and parched, aching for His touch and wondering why I felt so lost and empty. If you are longing, I understand. It is such a painful and sometimes private place to be. Over time I have learned that longing is a gift. It has rarely felt like a gift in the moments when I experienced unmet needs and barrenness where connection and comfort would have been my preference.
One treasure of prayer God has given me came through unexpected places. I have a dear sister friend who walks through valleys and celebrates joys with me. She and I have prayed for our sons together regularly almost daily by phone for years. We used to be neighbors and now we live in separate states. God wove our lives together for many reasons – one of which has been to pray hard over our boys together. We get the privilege and the responsibility as moms to pray our children through life. We can pray blessings over them, pray for their needs and pray protection around them. I strongly encourage you, no matter the age of your children, to draw near to a sister friend and commit to praying for your children together.
Beyond praying for our children, we need to pray with our children. Children learn to do what they experience and witness. When prayer centers our home, they know. When we reach to God with trust, they watch. When we lead them into His presence, they come.
Wherever you are in your prayer life, there is room for growth and increased intimacy with God. His riches and goodness are too great to fathom. We will never come to the end of Him and His love. Come as you are and step into His presence. Talk with Him, share your burdens, lift your praises, present your requests and give thanks. Pray with your children, not just at set times. Walk with them in the pattern of prayer.
I would love to hear your prayer stories … prayers answered, longings still unsatisfied, prayer warriors in your life … Beyond that I would love to pray for you. Share your request here or on the Hearts Homeward Facebook Page and I will be honored to pray for you.
This post was shared on Christian Mommy Blogger, Renewed Daily and The Weekend Brew