In this week’s podcast, we take a look at the importance of prayer when we read the Bible as part of our personal daily devotional time. If reading the Bible is part of a growing Christian walk with God, then talking, communicating, having honest and open conversations must be part of your Spiritual growth as well.
One thing I do is start out by reading a Psalm. It tends to help put me into a worshipful mindset, from which I am more open to hearing from God, and I am more prepared to speak to Him in a right way.
Now, if you’re like me at all, there are times when my needs just press upon me so greatly that they are all I can think of. After a few days of this, I discover as I take a hard look at myself, that I have a real “neediness” in my approach to God. Now, in and of itself, our needs are not bad. God wants us to come to Him with our needs – and even “wants”.
But, remember: IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU! When you pray, present your needs and desires to God, but keep them couched in submission to God’s will. Your needs are important – and they are important to God – but compared to His plans, it is SO important that your needs become smaller and smaller.
Too often, our prayer time is so overflowing with our own needs and desires that we forget about the other aspects of our relationship with God: worshipping Him for Who He is; adoring Him; thanking Him for all that He has given to us.
One great help, when it comes to prayer, is to remember ACTS:
- Supplications (or requests)
So, when you pray, remember to tell God how you adore Him, confess your sins to Him, thank Him for the things He has done, is doing and will do, and finally ask of Him the things that you need and want.
Now, to be 100% transparent, I don’t sit down every morning and run through this formula when I pray. However, I do always remember that God, who loves me, is on His eternal throne, listening to me. Jesus told us to address God in prayer. When Jesus did this, as an example to us, He referred to God as Abba, which was the Hebrew way of saying “Daddy”. So, by following Jesus’ example, we can come to God in a reverent, personal, and worshipful tone by simply saying something like, “Daddy, here’s what’s going on in my life…”
I’ve found that as I worship God in this way, my own needs and wants become much smaller, which is SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT!
Remember that God’s ways are not our ways and His plans are not our plans. This is why Jesus gave us a model in what we know today as “The Lord’s Prayer”, where we ask all things according to the will of God:
Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,(Matthew 6:9-13)
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
The first thing that Jesus asks of God is that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So, just like Jesus, we are to submit everything that we ask to the will of God.
Now, I know that there is some Christian teaching out there that says that you should have enough faith in God that you can simply proclaim what it is you request, and through your faith, He will give it to you. But I simply disagree with this. I believe that God knows what He needs to give us, when He needs to give it to us, and what He needs to withhold. And I need to be submissive enough to accept what He gives, His timing and even when He withholds things from me.
In fact, there was a time in His life when even Jesus’ prayer was denied by God the Father. When Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night that He was betrayed, He bent down and pleaded, “Lord, if there is any other way that the salvation of humanity can be accomplished, please let this cup (or work) pass from me.” Jesus didn’t want to be beaten and crucified and asked God if there was any other way. Ultimately, as we know, there was not another way.
In fact, when Jesus prayed the second time in Gethsemane, His prayer changed to, “…if there is not any other way, then let Your will be done.”
So, Jesus was strengthened, even in the Garden of Gethsemane, by the interplay of His request before God, the acknowledgement that His request was not the way God was going to do things, and then Jesus’ submission to the way God had chosen to do things.
So, when we pray, we can come to Him with love and praise, we need to confess our sins to Him, we need to thank Him for all He has done, and then we boldly ask of Him our heart’s desires and needs, always qualifying even our greatest concerns with a statement that says something like, “Lord, it’s not about what I want. It’s about what You want. So, help me be submissive to what You want.”
It’s amazing, when you approach God like this, how it opens your worldview up to what God has planned, even when it’s different than what you have been thinking about.
We have an incredible, even innate, desire to plan and map things out. However, this often results in us getting ourselves into a rut, where we lose God’s perspective and think that He can only do certain things in certain ways. But, submitting to the will of God in our prayers shows Him that we are open to whatever God wants to do to accomplish His plans.