How would you rank from 1-10 (10 being the highest) the consistency of your prayer life? What makes it difficult for you to have a consistent prayer life. In your opinion, how well do you pray when you do pray?
Prayer is meant to be an intimate conversation with our Heavenly Father because we were created to have and need an intimate relationship with him. In this session, we’ll discover the ways that God communicates with us and we with Him.
In his hit song, “Unanswered Prayers,” Garth Brooks sings, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember when you’re talking to the man upstairs. That just because he may not answer doesn’t mean he don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
If you’re like me, you can relate to this song. Which speaks to our misunderstanding of what prayer is meant to be. All too often, our prayers are determining what we want or what we believe is right, and asking God to bless us or give us what we’ve asked for. Then being disappointed when he doesn’t—treating our relationship with him like he’s Father Christmas.
So, what is prayer, and how are we supposed to pray? That’s what Jesus’ disciples asked, in Luke 11: 1-13 and in Matthew 6: 1-13, where Jesus taught them to pray, thereby giving guidelines for our prayers. In both scriptures, his prayer includes these words. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” But is that the way we pray, or do we skip that part? Read Luke 11:1-13 and Matthew 6: 1-13.
In his 40-day devotional ‘Draw the Circle,’ Mark Batterson writes, “The purpose of prayer is not to get what you want: the goal of prayer is to discern what God wants, what God wills. If your prayer is in the will of God, it is backed by the full authority of the King and His kingdom.”
Points to Ponder
- How does what you have read thus far line up with the way you pray?
- When was the last time you prayed for “God’s will” to be done, even if it wasn’t what you wanted?
- How would praying to decern what God wants change your relationship with God?
Prayer is meant to be much more than asking God for things or help. Prayer is about having a rich relationship with God. Prayer is intimate conversations that God desires and created us to have with him. Prayer is believing the promises and teaching in his Word invites us daily to listen, talk, walk, worship, and spend dedicated time in his presence.
Prayer is knowing that God hears you and trusting that he is here for you. That he is listening to both your words, your heart and will answer you through a variety of ways, through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, our “comforter, counselor” who reminds us that “He will never leave us nor forsake us.”
Here are some examples of the way that God communicates with us:
- Scripture: Read Colossians 3: 2-3
- Teaching: Read Ephesians 1:17-19
- Heart Desires: Read Ephesians 3:15-17, Hebrews 4:15-16
- Worship: Read Philippians 4:5-7
- Serving: Read Ephesians 6:17-19
- Listening: Read James 1:18-20, I Samuel 3:9
- Pain: Read Luke 22:43-45
- Fasting: Read Matthew 6: 5-18
Prayer is not about keeping some religious rule; it’s cultivating an intimate relationship with God the Father, Abba. Who also happens to be our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace Creator, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Talk about having a friend in “high places.”
Every healthy intimate relationship requires an intentional investment of time. Time to get to know each other, sharing our hopes and dreams as well as what’s hurting our hearts. Our Father invites us to confidently come to him in Hebrews 4:15-16, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Trust is the foundation of a healthy intimate relationship that God invites into through prayer. So communicate with him, confident that He loves you more than you could ever hope or dream because you are His beloved son.
Recommended Reading and Reflection
Pray Psalm 23
“The Circle Maker” & “Draw the Circle” by Mark Batterson
“Before Amen” by Max Lucado
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