Prayer not only consumed Jesus’ private life but was at the heart of the message He proclaimed. In His first and last public sermons, the Sermon on the Mount & Mount of Olives discourse, He spoke about prayer. Altogether there are 175 verses on prayer in the Gospels. Jesus speaks of prayer as “when you pray” not “if you pray”. In Matthew 6:6, Jesus says, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”
When you pray:
1.God meets with you. Prayer is relational, not transactional. God is a Father and wants to be with you. His desire is for you. Prayer will change you and realign priorities in your heart. When you meet with God, His presence changes your life. The more you spend time in prayer, intimacy with God increases and this relationship becomes the highest priority of every relationship. Come with confidence that God enjoys you and likes to hear your voice!
To think that God, the Creator of everything, the Maker of heaven and earth, the One who has all power & all wisdom, who has no beginning and no end, wants to meet with us is inconceivable. And He desires to meet with you with such a passion that Jesus tells us that He is waiting for you. Where is it that you meet with God? Is there a specific place in your house? Car? Workplace? Picture that place. The Father is there. He is waiting for you. He will not push you to meet with Him. He won’t chase you around or nag you to meet with Him. He waits. He loves you and desires to meet with you.
2.God speaks to you. In Matthew 4:4 Jesus spoke, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”. God doesn’t only talk to you when you meet with Him. He is always talking. Prayer causes you to listen. Prayer is a time you stop the noise and distractions. In Matthew 6:6 (above) Jesus’ instruction is to close the door, which means to shut out distractions and focus your heart & attention onto the Father.
God speaks quietly. He doesn’t shout to get your attention over other voices. He doesn’t run around getting you to listen to Him. In the account of Elijah in I Kings 19, God spoke to Elijah but His voice didn’t come the way Elijah expected. A powerful wind came but the Lord wasn’t in the wind. After the wind was an earthquake, but the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake. Then came a fire, but the Lord wasn’t in the fire. “And after the fire, a gentle whisper” (verse 12).
How do you expect God to speak to you? He speaks in a whisper. He is not demanding or loud. There may be times when He speaks and it is life-changing or big moments when a new trajectory is set and sometimes His voice confirms His love to your heart. But He is always speaking. Set your heart and affections to listen. Train your ears to hear His tender voice.
3. God moves when you pray. Your prayer moves the heart of God. God invites you to partnership with Him. Andrew Murray said, "It is only by intercession that power can be brought down from heaven which will enable the Church to conquer the world.” There are doors yet to be opened, breakthroughs yet to happen, but God waits for His friends to pray. He acts upon your words. Isaiah 64:4 says, “Since ancient times no one has heard; no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.”
God is active around those who pray. Want God to show up in your life? Pray. What does it mean to wait for Him? It is an active waiting. Anticipation, expectation, looking for something. When I was in the last few weeks of pregnancy with each of my children, I had to “wait” for labor to begin. Did I just sit around on the couch? No. I was preparing the last details for my child’s delivery. I wanted to get everything ready. I was anticipating and expecting a birth. This is the same idea as you and I wait for Him. We are preparing, getting ready for God to act on those things we are asking Him for. E.M. Bounds says, "God has of His own motion placed Himself under the law of prayer and has obligated Himself to answer the prayers of men. He has ordained prayer as a means whereby He will do things through men as they pray, which He would not do otherwise".
If you have prayed and have not gotten an answer yet, don’t quit! Keep praying. He will respond. He will answer! Jesus talked about the law of perseverance. Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. Don’t give up because Isaiah tells us that God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.
“God designed His government to be released through the simplicity of intercession because He desires relationship. God doesn’t do things alone. He awakens human beings, calls them into friendship, and then through their prayers and their lives they manifest the hidden things in God’s heart. In the sacred place of connection with Him they are filled with the knowledge of His will and empowered to speak and release His desires.” Corey Russell
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