The other day, I was thinking about how I needed to pray for something important, but as I discussed a few weeks ago, I am having some trouble with my prayer life. So as I sat there thinking, "I need to pray", I was also reminded of a very wrong view of God and prayer that I tend to have.
The One-Day GodWhen I pray about something, I tend to have this view that God only works with our prayers for that day. For instance, if Taylor and I were trying to sell our house (this is only hypothetical, by the way), and I pray that God would bring about some showings, and then lead the right person to buy, and then the next week a showing happens, but I don't pray again that God would bring the right person, I tend to think that God won't answer my prayer because I didn't pray it that day.
This is wrong. God works in His children's prayers in His own time. This means that something I asked two years ago may not get answered for another 5 years. That doesn't mean that if I fail to pray for something on the day it was supposed to happen, that God will retract what He was going to do.
A good relationshipGod says to pray in all circumstances. And Constantly. That is pleasing to God and a sign that someone is in good communion with Him. If we don't want to pray, we definitely need to figure out why and ask God to help us with that problem, but I have already addressed that. That doesn't change the fact that prayer isn't a chance for God to shake His head at us if we don't pray the same request every single day.
In fact, I am starting to realize (in knowledge...still working on it in practice) that asking God for something or coming to Him about an issue, leaving it at His feet, and trusting Him to work in His way and timing, is a much better way to do things than this anxious need to pray the same requests everyday, in fear that God won't answer me if I don't.
Part of me hopes that I am not the only one who struggles in this way. The other, more godly part of me hopes that no one else has this wrong view. This view takes prayer from a sweet relationship with the Lord, into a fearful plea to a dictator. It eliminates intimacy and brings about false conviction and condemnation.
So what is the right view of prayer?
God wants us to pray to Him often. He wants us to bring our needs and requests, our repentance, and our worship and awe of Him. If we aren't bringing those daily, we need to get that straightened out. Yes, an ideal relationship with God includes praise that occurs daily, and naturally. A repentance of everything that breaks God's heart. A trust in God for all our needs.
But for those of us who are struggling to get back in the grove in our prayer life, let's just start with this:
Our Father in Heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom Come.
Your Will Be Done,
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us This Day,
Our Daily Bread.
Forgive us our Sins,
As we Forgive Those who have Sinned Against us.
And Lead us Not into Temptation,
But Deliver us from Evil.
For Your's is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory,
Forever and Ever.
In Jesus' name,
This is the prayer that Jesus prayed to God. Jesus knew better than any of us how to pray. This simple prayer that is known as "The Lord's Prayer" has every component needed- praise and awe, acknowledgement that God's way is best, and asking Him to do His will. Asking for provision, asking for forgiveness, and asking that God would keep us from sin.
God still desires that we pray constantly, and that we use our own words, but when we need a model, and we need to get back to a right view of prayer, what better than to use the words of Jesus?