When I started writing this post, I was thinking of all the things I am thankful for. I was going through the usual things in my mind and then started thinking of how thankful I am that I can go to God in prayer. It seems like I am always in the midst of learning new things about God and lately has been no exception. I really want to improve my prayer life and go to God first before I talk to anyone else. Moving Mountains by John Eldredge is helping me look at God the way I am supposed to when I pray. If you struggle in this area like I have, I hope this post will help you.
Every single day demands an urgent need for prayer. I have prayed most of my life, but I just haven’t felt like I have prayed with the confidence I should have. I want my prayers to be effective, but most of the time I don’t feel like they are because I have my eyes focused on the results. What I need to be doing is cultivating my relationship with the One I am praying to. I need to be real with Him. E. M. Bounds wrote, “The entire man must pray. The whole man—life, heart, temper, mind, are in it…it takes a whole heart to do effectual praying.”
One of the most important things we need to realize is the fact that we are sons and daughters of the King of the Universe. If you have given your heart to Christ and accept Him as your Lord and Savior, then you are an heir to the King. John Eldredge quotes Dallas Willard. “We ought to look at our lives with God as a partnership. We are partners in a shared mission.” So when we go to God in prayer, we need to look at Him as a partner in our lives and in our struggles. I can’t tell you how much this concept helps me! He isn’t someone I just go to in a crisis—He is my partner.
Something else that is amazing is the fact that not only are we a son or a daughter and an heir of the King, we are His friend. John 15:13-15 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
When I look at my friends, I see women who stick by me, listen to me, encourage me, assist me, pray for me, love me, laugh with me and cry with me. I have amazing friends. But I need to look at God in the same way. He also listens to me, encourages me, assists me, prays for me, loves me, laughs with me and cries with me. So when I go to Him, I need to remember that He is my friend, confidant and ally. My life and my work on this earth is because of my partnership with Him.
Another thing that I feel like is so important to do is to hold hands or lay hands on others as we pray. God has been nudging me to do this more. I have to admit that I haven’t been comfortable in this area, but I really want to change and be more open to do this. Physical touch seems to make our prayers stronger when we are gathered together.
Have you ever wondered why we should say, “In Jesus’ name” when we end our prayers? Let me share with you what John Eldredge says about this statement. “In Jesus’ name” is even more of a command— far, far more declarative and final, like the drop of a judge’s gavel. We are using the authority of the ruler of all galaxies and realms to enforce the power of what we have just prayed.” I have to be honest and say that I have ended my prayers with those three words for so many years and not realized the power and the authority that is behind it.
Jesus wants us to claim the authority we have because of what He did on the cross. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18 So when I pray, I need to remember that He has the authority to answer those prayers. The hard part is for me to trust His answers. But—when I step back and look at His character—I realize that because He is my friend, my ally, my confidant and my partner—He is doing what is best for me. (And sometimes that is really hard to see!)
There have been so many prayers that I have prayed, that I didn’t like the answer to. I have been frustrated. I have been angry. I have been sad and I have been impatient while waiting. I know that His answers are way above what I can understand. He knows everything from the beginning to the end of our lives—and He sees things that we do not see. I have to trust that He knows what is best for me.
I think that our culture has gotten into a dangerous attitude that God needs our approval on what He does in our lives. I have even fallen into that trap! But, I am not all-knowing. I am human with a limited capability of grasping what is happening around me. I struggle to understand why, but sometimes it just isn’t possible to understand why. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
I need to remind myself that, “He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” Deuteronomy 32:4 I have to step back from the situation I am in and remind myself of who God is. When I pray, I am praying to a God who is perfect and doesn’t do anything wrong. Whatever He does in my life is good whether I like it or not. (And there has been plenty I haven’t liked!)
So, when I pray, I have to step out of myself and look at who God is. I cannot humanize Him. Everything He does is pure and everything He does is from love. Everything He does is perfect. Just think for a moment, what our lives would be like without Him watching over us every single second of the day. He intervenes constantly in our lives without us even knowing. “He rides across the heavens to help us on the clouds of His majesty.” Deuteronomy 33:26 (Like watching a super hero arrive just in time to save the day!)
A gentle reminder for myself and for you—don’t let your feelings control you. It is so important not to allow Satan to get into our feelings. For example, there have been many days that I have felt abandoned. But, does God abandon me? NO! I cannot allow those feelings become my truth. When I feel that way, I have to stop and look at truth! Eldredge reminded me of that fact when he said, “The emotions are real, and they matter, but emotions are not a safe harbor for the soul. Our enemy is always there in times of distress, trying to get us to agree with his lies, You are forsaken.”
My main goal is not to see more answers to prayer, but to learn extensively about the God I am praying to. I want to see my Father’s loving gaze when I come to Him in prayer. You see, I don’t recall a time in my life when my earthly father looked at me with love in his eyes. I have seen pictures of him smiling at the camera when I was little, but I don’t recall seeing those eyes smiling at me with love in them. That has affected me. It has shaken me to the core because the eyes reflect what is in the soul. It is so important that I educate myself and see God correctly when I go to Him in prayer. That frightened little girl inside me needs to learn that her Heavenly Father is completely different—frankly, there is no comparison!
I am going to end with some thoughts on the authority that God has given us when we pray. “You are not the orphaned child, sitting out in the hall hoping your busy Father will see one of the notes you have pushed under his door; you are not a homeless beggar, standing on the corner hoping God will pass by and hand you a couple of bucks; you are not a refugee, standing in line at the embassy hoping the Ambassador will hear your request. Not even a faithful servant, humbly trying to do your best. You are a son or daughter of the living God, a friend and ally, wielding His authority to get things done. And by the way—your eternal destiny is to reign.” Eldredge
I can’t wait to learn more and share it with you! Until next time……