When you pray … “(Matthew 6:5-9)
When the Holy Spirit started to prepare us to hear God, it was the beginning of a relationship. Let there be no doubt that God initiated the relationship, but it grew when we expressed our desire to participate in it. Scripture shows us that the way we join with God is through prayer. Prayer is listening and talking with God so that we can understand Him and strengthen our relationship with Him.
Most of us don’t start our Christian lives by working out our faith for ourselves. Our growth is guided by others, attending church, reading books, and fellowship. So, when we begin to study our bible seeking God, we carry all that guidance with us and look at God with those things sitting in the back of our minds. Most followers form their opinion of prayer by observing others and listening to how they pray. They may mimic their prayer pattern if they think it works for the person they are watching. When listening to others pray, we mostly hear them asking for something, so we can quickly get the impression that we only pray because we need something. The general approach seems to be to go to God in humility, ask for whatever we desire, and instead of ending the request with abracadabra, we say “in Jesus’ name” or “Amen.” Then, we wait and possibly don’t pray until we need something else.
What do you talk about if you are in a relationship with someone? Is the only time you speak to them when you want something? Are the first words you greet them with “can I have” or “could you “? Is that even a relationship? God wants to personally reveal Himself and His truth to us and does this through prayer. It is challenging to be in a relationship thinking the sole purpose of the other is to meet our needs. Before we dare ask, we should know who we are asking. When we discover who God is, we will undoubtedly change our conversation with Him. James tells us we don’t get what we want because we ask with the wrong motives. He implies we don’t even know what we need, so we ask for things that impact us personally.
Why do we pray? We pray to know God and His plans so we can line up our lives to live in that plan. No matter what we pray, He will listen. But how about the next time we pray, we try listening to Him? We can ask God for His grace to reveal Himself to us. We can pray, asking to understand Him. We can humbly ask Him to grow our relationship.