Theme of the Week: Transforming Prayer
Bible Verse: “Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” John 8:31-32
Scripture Reading: Psalm 119:57-64; 169-176
It is so easy in our perfunctory approach to prayer to blow into God’s presence, conduct our daily data dump to be relieved of our worries but not revived in our worship. One core focus of worship-based prayer is the commitment to always start our prayers from the Word of God.
While it was not always this way, all of my praying in the last two decades, both personal and in community, has begun with an open Bible. On a personal level, I read the Scriptures using the Bible program on my laptop. As specific passages speak to me, I paste them into my journal program. Then I take time to allow those Bible segments to speak deeply to my heart and write out my prayers in response. This sense of Christ’s presence and the substance of His Word guide my praying for that day. When I miss a day of this kind of praying, which is more often than I wish, I feel the difference and the distance.
When we do not begin our prayers from this posture of abiding, allowing the Word to saturate our minds and guide our words, our prayers can become short, superficial, shallow, and even selfish. When our prayers are off at the source, they will fall short in our satisfaction and kingdom success. Prayers, like a bullet from a gun, get more off-target the further they go. When we get into a routine of simply praying our own ideas and thoughts, our prayers are increasingly misguided. The longer we do this, the further we travel from God’s design for prayer.
In a sense, prayer is a continual conversation between our hearts and God’s. Nevertheless, when we stop to spend time in focused prayer, it is important to know who should start the conversation. If prayer is simply the discharge of my own will and thoughts, in the hope that I can help God run the universe, then I should start the prayer conversation. On the other hand, if prayer is about my heart becoming intimate and aligned with the heart of the Savior, then I should let Him start the conversation. This is the reality of abiding in Him and letting His words abide in us.
Imagine what a difference it would make if we went straight to the Word of God to hear from Him and then based our prayer time in His wisdom, not ours. Consider what insight and direction we would receive if we asked, in the context of prayer, “Lord, what is on your heart? What truth does the Holy Spirit want us to pray about?” Yes, many of the same needs would surface, but from a different perspective – God’s, not ours. The way we pray about our needs would change. With the faith that comes from the Word of God, and the passion that comes from the indwelling Christ, we would pray differently.
Taken from Transforming Prayer: How Everything Changes When You Seek God’s Face by Daniel Henderson. ©2011 by Daniel Henderson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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