A PRAYING LIFE – Week 2
ð What do you know and see from this verse?
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
– Jesus’ words to church @ Laodicea
– Laodicea was self-absorbed & indulgent, needing reproof and discipline
– Jesus is inviting the church (believers) to repent and restored intimacy
– The call is for anyone
– Jesus longs for fellowship with his children
A Praying Life, p.20 The praying life feels like dinner with good friends
A praying life feels like our family mealtimes because prayer is all about relationships. It’s intimate and hints at eternity. We don’t think about communication or words but about whom we are talking with. Prayer is simply the medium through which we experience and connect to God.
Oddly enough, many people struggle to learn how to pray because they are focusing on praying, not on God. Making prayer the center is like making conversation the center of a family mealtime. In prayer, focusing on the conversation is like trying to drive while looking at the windshield instead of through it. It freezes us, making us unsure where to go. Conversation is only the vehicle through which we experience one another. Consequently, prayer is not the center of this book. Getting to know a person, God, is the center.”
“…your Father knows what you need… pray then like this: Our Father in heaven…” Matthew 6:8-9
Since prayer is about relationship and personally communicating with God, we must better understand what it means to have a relationship with God. Jesus tells us to pray to God as our Father. In other words, we approach Him as children. In learning to pray it is not a formula to ‘get right’ but about becoming vulnerable to submission in a relationship with God. When we stress over doing prayer right it becomes unsatisfying and unholy; because our focus is not on God but self.
“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Mark 10:15
“you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
“God sent forth his Son, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father! So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:5-7
ð What does it mean to enter the kingdom of God (relationship with God) like a child?
- Physically – children need food, shelter, etc. provided for them
- Emotionally – children need lots of touches
- Trust in wisdom (children are very literal and rarely understand sarcasm)
- Love (tender and pure – unconditional no strings attached)
- Prayer is not based on feelings but on fact – God is my Father!
- Open and without pretense (children come messy)
“The difficulty of coming just as we are is that we are messy. And prayer makes it worse. When we slow down to pray, we are immediately confronted with how unspiritual we are, with how difficult it is to concentrate on God. We don’t know how bad we are until we try to be good. Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer.
In contrast, little children never get frozen by their selfishness. Like the disciples, they come just as they are, totally self-absorbed. They seldom get it right. As parents or friends we know all that. In fact, we are delighted (most of the time!) to find out what is on their little hearts. We don’t scold them for being self-absorbed or fearful. That is just who they are.
SO… The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy… Don’t try to get the prayer right; just tell God where you are and what’s on your mind. That’s what little children do.” (pp. 31-32)
ð Pray as a child of God. Tell God your worries, your preoccupations, things that are overwhelming you.
“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
ð Pray thankfully. Express your appreciation and worship for His adoption and salvation in your life.
ð Pray to a Father who knows and answers prayer requests
“for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” John 14:16