Growing in Prayer

This year, I’ve grown most in the area of prayer. I’m desperate!

In prayer, I tell God everything; I leave my problems in His hands. My problems become His problems, and I know the moment I ask for help, divine aid has already been applied. In prayer, I place other people in God’s hands as well. In prayer, I ask for wisdom, and I know it’s coming (James 1:5).

But prayer isn’t just asking. It’s communing. It’s listening. It’s aligning ourselves to what the Holy Spirit is doing (Romans 8:26).

Prayer is also a way to enjoy God and make our soul “happy in the Lord.” Consider the words of a great man of prayer, George Mueller:

The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit.

I love thinking of prayer as my “first great and primary business.” I also love the following words on prayer that excite and motivate me in my own conversations with God. I think of prayer as:

A real transaction with God: “True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” – Charles Spurgeon

A rare delight: “Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.” – E.M. Bounds

A pathway to rest: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls’.” (Jeremiah 6:16)

A connection to promised Listener: “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14).

A connection to extraordinary generosity: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)

A conversation with One who reveals mysteries: “Daniel answered the king and said, ‘No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. . . ‘.” (Daniel 2:27-28)

A way the Father is glorified in the Son: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:12-14).

A request of a God who does more than we ask: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. . .”  (Ephesians 3:20).

When we pray, God hears. He is already answering.

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