My plan, My list, My words. My, My, My.
I have so much to learn about prayer. I have learned so much about prayer. Prayer is not a static thing; it is a living outgrowth of our life-giving relationship with Jesus. Prayer is conversation with God. Prayer is so much more than we realize and so much more casual than we want it to be. BUT prayer is not about MY wants, MY greeds, MY everything. Of course, there is that part of prayer where we pour out our hearts to God. And we live in our skins and our minds so we tend to be central in everything in our lives. Still, the more I understand about prayer, the more I see it as being God central rather than ME central.
So with all that said, I wanted to share the things I looked at this past summer regarding prayer.
Not Making Prayer Lists
That doesn’t mean we can’t pray for something that is greatly on our hearts. But, too often all we know about prayer is to make a list of our requests and pray down them, like a laundry list – ticking off mentally “done” or “check”. That doesn’t require seeking and it doesn’t require listening. That is all about speaking OUR minds and giving OUR wants. No conversation with God, no intimacy with God. Again, it puts my wants, desires, sometimes greeds in the center and can actually hold God at arm’s length.
Since real deep prayer is about communication, I thought looking at how we normally communicate with others is a good thing. Boy, it would really be dreadful if the bulk of my “date nights” with my husband was just me reading him my Honey Do List!! I want to tell him what is really on my heart: my fears, my successes, my failures, my goals. BUT it doesn’t end there. I want his input on things, I want to hear what is on his heart. I want to know how I can love and serve him better. I want dialogue – not dictation! Kind of helps me look at prayer in a different light!
And speaking of listening.
The other thing I want to break us out of is not listening to the prayers of others. How often do we come to a corporate prayer time and tap our feet waiting for our turn to speak? As someone else prays, all we can think of is what WE want to say. So we don’t join with them in prayer in our spirits. We are repeating or rehearsing our own prayers and wondering, “has that been a long enough pause to assume they are done, and can I jump in now without looking rude?”
Again, no seeking, no listening. Just making our time of prayer all about us; how spiritual do we sound when we pray, or how much can I shove into the few minutes I feel I’m allotted? So I want to make sure and REALLY listen to others; to pray with them in my heart, mind and spirit. And to listen to the Spirit’s response to another person’s prayer. How is the Lord speaking to me through their prayer and where is God directing me?
Listening, the scriptures and waiting in prayer.
Over the next few weeks, I’d like to share some practical things I’ve learned in the past 20 years that have deepened my prayer life and my walk with the Lord. I hope they will be the encouragement to you that they have been to me. I know that:
- I want my life to be effective in the Kingdom of God.
- I want to be a mighty warrior in prayer.
- I want to learn more and more to step into the presence of God and to let my spirit soar into the heavenly places.
- I want to be molded and changed into the image of Jesus through my prayer life.
- I want to support and build up the saints through lifting them to the Throne of Grace.
How do you want this coming decade to change your life in and through the area of prayer? Join me in the coming weeks as we explore greater depths of communion with God in prayer.