We’ve been talking about prayer in the small church group I’m in the last few weeks and I just want to ask you, How’s your prayer life?
Do you pray consistently? When you pray, what are you hoping to achieve? Are you just praying to pray, because it is something Jesus has told us to do? Or is your prayer life an act of pursuit for God’s heart?
The ultimate goal in prayer is not for circumstances to change. It is to develop and deepen your relationship with the Father. In true pursuit of God’s own heart, we will find that it is we who change. God is never changing and if we are praying to change God in some way then we will be sorely disappointed.
Are we praying simply to ask God to change the circumstances we are in? Then where is our focus? Is it truly on God or is it on something else?
If your prayers are always a response to what the devil is doing then who is leading your prayer life?Mark Carrillo
I am not saying we cannot or should not pray over our circumstances. We are highly encouraged to do so. One of the things we are tasked with is to “lay hands on the sick and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18). That is praying over a circumstance. King David constantly prayed over his circumstances, there’s a whole book in the Bible full of his prayers. Hannah prayed to God in her grief because she had no children. (1 Sam. 1:10-11)
However, our ultimate goal should be drawing closer to God no matter the circumstances. Where will we be if the circumstances do not change? If God does not move the mountain in our way, if He does not part the waters, or heal the disease? Will we become bitter because the prayer has not been answered the way we want it to be? Will our heart draw further away from God? Then what have we truly achieved in our prayers?
Whenever Jesus healed someone, He always addressed the state of the persons heart before the physical affliction. When He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed over His circumstances, asking the Father to be free from the coming tribulation, but His final plea was one of growing closer to the Father, “Not My will, but Yours”.
What are You Praying?
I think this is an important question. Yes there are times when we don’t know what to pray. Times when we are grieved beyond our known words, or when we’re confused, or the words we do know do not seem enough. This is where the language of the Spirit comes in, a.k.a. speaking in tongues. However, we also have a whole book full of the Word of God that we can pray.
I was listening to The Jacob Sheriff Podcast recently and he talked about how there is a Psalm for every feeling that we can begin to pray over ourself. We can make it a habit we perform daily as a way to learn the language of prayer but also as a way to train ourselves for when the unexpected happens so that we will not be unprepared. He talked about how he has certain verses that he prays over himself daily and when the unexpected arose, those words were already within him and he was able to automatically rely on God’s Word in those moments. He was prepared to come against whatever it was and to remind himself of the Father’s heart.
After I listened to the most recent episode, I happened to come across a verse in my personal bible study time that perfectly worded one of the things I desire for myself as I pursue the heart of God.
“…that the Lord your God may tell us the way we should go and the thing we should do.”Jeremiah 42:3
It is such a simple verse but so profound to me that I had to write it down so I wouldn’t forget it. I have spoken about how I have felt so joyful that the only words I could think of was the first few verses from Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-47). They were literally the only words that came to me when I was trying to express my joy in God. Another verse that I have come across that resonated with me is Exodus 33:13:
“Now, please, if it is really the case that I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways; so that I will understand you and continue finding favor in your sight.”CJB version
These three verses are all things that I have prayed over myself but also in thanksgiving and praise to our God.
In praying the word of God we also have the promise that the word of God will not return void (Isa. 55:11) and God watches over His Word carefully. (Jer. 1:12) What better thing to pray than the Word of God? As we speak His Word, we are bringing about holy change and will find ourselves drawing closer to God, deepening our relationship with Him. We come to see more of His heart and our own self will reflect His heart all the more. If you don’t know where to start, start with your favorite bible verse or the Psalms.
So friends, how’s your prayer life? Do you find that your focus needs to become more God-centered than circumstance-centered? More about relationship with Him than what you can attain from Him? Prayer and relationship with God are eternal things, and so are the seeds that you sow within them.