How do we enjoy prayer
In the beginning, you may think I’ve lost my mind, but read on, I will answer your question. Read carefully. When becoming a Christian, the number one focus of our lives should be God. We must get to know and understand God, even more, we must have a close personal relationship with Him, or being a Christian becomes a list of does and don’ts. If we start out with a tick box of what is out, and what is in, your religion will become a checklist of what YOU have done. I’ve prayed today, boring! Check. Christianity is not about us, but it is all about what GOD HAS DONE! We are totally incapable of saving ourselves, so a checklist of does and don’ts is useless, because what you do or don’t do, cannot bring you into the kingdom of heaven. The only thing that you can do, is to bring yourself into the closest possible position to God, and let Him do the rest. Have a look at some of the Scripture passages below.
1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
God is love. And in the “love chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13:5, it says, love does not seek its own. That means that God is focused totally outwards, He is more concerned about us than He is about Himself, especially our salvation. We see that with Jesus on the cross. He prays to His Father to forgive the very ones who are hammering the nails through His hands. He takes upon Himself your sins, and mine, and those of the whole world, since the time of Adam and Eve to the very end, and dies the death that we sinners should die.
Hebrews 9:28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
His motivation is that He loves us so much that He wants each one of us to live with Him, in a close personal relationship, forever. That is love! And further, the sins we have done, are doing or still will do, make no difference to His love. He loves 100%, no matter whether we love Him or hate Him. We cannot make Him love us less if we are utterly sinful and reject Him, and we cannot make Him love us more, if we are His closest friends. And how do we measure God’s love for us? Look at John 17:23 below, where Jesus tells His Father that He (the Father) loves us (you and me), as much as He loves Jesus. Let that sink in. You are loved by the Father as much as He loves Jesus! And of course, that goes the same for Jesus and the Holy Spirit. None of us deserves to be saved, for we are all sinners. But Jesus took our sins, died our death, and gives us salvation and eternal life, just because He loves us. That is grace!
John 17:23 (NLT) “ I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”
I’m sure your question at this stage would be, so how do I place myself as close as possible to this wonderful, awesome God? In other words, how do I start and grow, a close personal relationship with Someone who is invisible? Let’s start with what a human relationship is all about. Say you have someone who you think would make a good friend, how to you become friends? Well, you introduce yourself, talk and tell the person all about yourself. Then you ask the person to tell you all about him/herself, and you listen and learn. You spend more and more time together, find all the points you have in common, and before you know it, you are best friends. Time spent talking, that’s it. It works exactly the same with God.
So now we have finally arrived at prayer. We all pray, you will say. That is true, but what about, and for how long? Five or ten minutes in the morning, saying grace at mealtimes, and another ten minutes at night, is about average. And most of that is asking Him to do things for us. So how then should we pray? Prayer, it is said, is opening the heart as to a friend. In other words, put a pillow on the ground, get on your knees, and be prepared to be there a long time. Tell God everything, your hopes, sins, dreams, disasters, fears, everything you can think of. The funny thing is, God already knows everything about us, but we still have to do it, because it changes our hearts when we spill it all to God. And why should we be scared, if whatever you have done, does not make Him love you less?
Be prepared for the devil to try and sabotage your prayer life. He will put thoughts in your mind that are awful, and do it so cunningly, that you will think they are your own thoughts. Or he will make your thoughts wander, so that you cannot concentrate on what you want to tell God. So, before you start, tell God that this is your time with Him, and only Him, and ask Him to keep the devil out (and keep you awake!). Ask Him to be your fortress all around you, so that you are totally secure with Him, and the devil is outside.
That is just the start. The more time you spend with God, the more you will find that you become concerned for the salvation of your family, friends, and eventually, your enemies! So, you become an intercessor, someone who prays for God to spend extra special time with those people, drawing them closer to Him with His love. And as you see those change who you pray for, it will strengthen your faith, and improve your relationship with your heavenly Father and Friend. When you pray for someone to be saved, you know that you are 100% in God’s will, because His greatest concern for each of us is our salvation.
But the greatest and best part of prayer is praise and thanks. Normally, we do miserably little of this. We are great at asking, but poor at thanking and praising. We actually need to start each session of prayer with praising God for His great love and mercy to us, His patience with us who are such slow learners, and His constant forgiving, forgiving, forgiving of our sins. Praise Him for the plan of salvation, for the cross, for His willingness to take our sins and exchange it for His righteousness, for His resurrection which guarantees our eventual resurrection to eternal life. There is so much to praise God for, and we haven’t even started thanking Him! Every day there will be times when God steps in to help us, saves us from harm, gives us the words to say, stops us from saying hurtful things, answers our prayers, and much more. Thank Him for those things, so that we not only ask, but also thank.
So, we have spoken to God, and now we have to give Him the opportunity to speak to us. We have to let God speak to us through His Word, the Bible. That is why it is absolutely essential that we spend time every day reading and studying it. And before we open it, we must ask that God reveal Himself to us through His Word, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Pray first, then read. To read the Bible without inviting God to lead us, is fatal, which is why we have thousands of different denominations, each claiming to have the truth. Jesus said that He is the truth (John 14:6), and that the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth (John 14:17), so only with the help of the Holy Spirit will we truly come to understand and know God, and what He tells us in His Word. When you find a verse or passage that particularly speaks to you, it helps if you could memorize it, because without a doubt, the time will come when you will be glad to have it handy, when the devil tempts or terrorizes you.
So there, in a nutshell, is what the relationship between you and God should be like. Boring? Not a chance! Once you have heard God speak to you to solve your problems and frustrat-ions, through His Word, there will be no boredom! But you must make this a daily habit, every day at the same time, same place. I suggest getting up an hour earlier every day, and really growing your relationship with God. You may have to give up some TV at night and get to bed earlier, but your life will change, that’s for certain! Try it for a couple of months, and see what happens. If it doesn’t work for you, you can always return to boredom, but I assure you, it won’t!
God bless as you enter into a no-boring prayer life, and a close personal relationship with the King of the universe!
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