How difficult it is to write about prayer. Why? Because there is so much to say. For example, American author E. M. Bounds wrote more than six hundred pages on the subject of prayer. So, of course, this post only can touch on a few areas regarding prayer.
First of all, prayer is talking with God. Do not forget this. Prayer is not about me. It is not about you. Prayer is all about God. But God is holy and almighty and so far beyond our ability to comprehend. We are insignificant as we stand before Him.
How Can We Approach God?
So how can we approach such a holy and powerful God? We approach Him with awe, and reverence, and confidence.
Awe — Moses said in Exodus 15: 11, “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” The presence of God should fill us with awe and wonder.
Reverence — Isaiah 6: 3 says, And one [seraphim] called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” When this happened, the temple was filled with the glory of God. Strange creatures (seraphim) flew around the room. Isaiah fell to his knees in reverence. Reverence means “deep respect” or “veneration.”
Confidence — Did you expect to see this attitude? How can we draw near to God with confidence? This is contrary to reverence and awe, isn’t it? Well, God wants our respect and worship but He does not want us filled with fear and panic when we come before Him. The Bible says in Hebrews 4: 16, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (ESV)
Why confidence? Confidence is the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something. It is having firm trust in this Someone. How can we know we can trust God? Because God is our loving Father. He sent Jesus to die for you and for me. By this we are assured that God loves us.
The apostle Paul spoke of this assurance in Romans 8: 31-32, which says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (ESV) To Paul, this logic confirmed God’s care for us. If God did not spare His own Son but sent Him to die for our sins, it makes sense that God will freely give us all good things.
Tips for a Consistent Prayer Life
OK, God wants to hear from us. We know this. How can we come to Him regularly and consistently? Here are a few practical suggestions:
Have a set place and time — Setting aside a specific prayer time can help to create a regular and consistent prayer life. King David prayed in the morning. In Psalm 5: 3 David wrote, “O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” (ESV)
Also have a designated place for prayer. Your prayer space should be quiet and secluded. It should be a place when you will not be interrupted. Jesus selected a quiet, secluded place to pray on the night before He chose the twelve disciples. The Bible says in Luke 6: 12, “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.” (ESV) The Bible also tells us that Moses (Exodus 24: 18), Elijah (I Kings 19: 8-9), and Peter (Acts 10: 9) met with God in secluded places.
Designate a space that will become your special meeting place with God. And get in the habit of praying at the same time every day. The power of a habit helps to reminds you to come to God in prayer.
Use a prayer list or organizer — For a long time I resisted using prayer lists. But I have found no better way to remember my responsibility to others when I pray. Prayer lists also help you get organized. However, you must resist the tendency we have to turn the prayer list into a mere list of names. As you pray for each person or item on your list, think of that person or item and of their prayer need. Remember, you are presenting that person by name to the holy God of heaven and earth.
The apostle Paul kept long lists of the people for whom he prayed (see Romans 16: 3-16). He asks the churches to pray for their fellow Christians. Ephesians 6: 18 says, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” (ESV) Supplication means asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.
The Old Testament prophet Samuel also took prayer very seriously. He said to the people of Israel in I Samuel 12: 23, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.” (ESV)
Listen for God’s voice — Listening earns the reputation of being the most important and least remembered part of prayer. After presenting your requests to God, continue quietly in a prayerful mood for a few minutes. Remember, God often speaks in the quiet voice of peaceful stillness. Quietly and reverently wait upon God.
Much more will be said about listening for God’s voice in future blogs. But remember, prayer is talking with God. It is a conversation with the Lord God Almighty. However, a place before His throne is reserved for us by Jesus Christ. Approach God with reverence but also with confidence. The Lord God Almighty exists also as your Father who loves you.