17 Feb Grow – Prayer Cultivates Intimacy with God
Prayer, at its simplest concept, is conversing with God. Prayer is as rewarding as a conversation with a good friend or mentor. With a good friend, we enjoy sitting down and speaking freely; we anticipate reflection, feedback and encouragement. This is the ultimate goal of prayer – cultivating a relationship with God where we know him, he knows us, and we enjoy the fruit of a solid relationship. The only (obvious) difference is that this relationship is with the Creator of the Universe! You and I have the opportunity to commune and grow a relationship with God.
Basic Truths of Prayer
If you are new to prayer, these are the foundational truths I have found to help you start well.
- Know that when we pray, God comes near: “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth,” Psalm 145:18.
- Sometimes we might naturally think/feel that when we pray, we are pleading to get God’s attention. The opposite is true. God loves us unconditionally! He took the first step to enjoy a relationship with us. Jesus came from heaven to earth; died on the cross; was resurrected – all in order to provide the opportunity of a sustainable relationship with us.
- Prayer, then, is our way of responding to his initiation to us! When we pray, we are telling God that we are inviting him into our life and circumstances.
- We are invited to come boldly to him through prayer: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” Hebrews 4:16.
- If you read the context of this Scripture, we find that Jesus is sympathetic with our need of him – with our weaknesses. As a result, we are urged to come to him to find what we need through prayer: help, healing, perspective, strength, etc.
- Pray with faith believing for what you are asking for: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him,” Hebrews 11:6.
- Faith – “The evidence of things hoped for; the confidence of things unseen,” Heb. 11:1 – is the currency of heaven. In other words, if you want God to move on your behalf, you have to believe what you are asking for. Believe he can do it. Believe he will do it. Don’t give up until you see it.
- Building a solid prayer life takes time.
- Make small, sustainable and consistent steps to develop your prayer life.
- Try to set time apart to pray – aim towards 5 out of 7 days a week. If you’re just starting out, begin with 5 minutes of prayer a day. You’ll find that as you develop your prayer path, this time will naturally increase.
- Put together a prayer list. Write down what you’re praying for. Matt and I write down a monthly prayer list. The things we don’t see answered in one month, we move toward the next month. Be sure to write down what God’s doing – what are you grateful for? Where has he shown himself faithful? You are ultimately cultivating your awareness of what he’s doing in your life.
- Write down a Scripture that backs up your prayer. This is the power you have to pray for God to answer your prayer. For instance, Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” That’s the TRUTH of Scripture that allows you to pray with confidence. Your prayers function as the faith in this truth that is needed to initiate God’s fulfillment of it.
- Leave space for you to write down what you sense he is saying as you pray. Sometimes it’s a Scripture, a word, an impression, something to do or say. You’ll want to be able to recall all he communicates with you.
- Write down the day and how God answers your prayers. As time goes by, it’s amazing to see how God has answered prayers. God’s faithfulness in the past always fuels our truth in him for the future!