Dear God… A Lesson in Prayer

How do you approach God when you pray? I think if we are honest we often view prayer as a way to get something out of God. We pray because we want an answer, direction, healing, or relationship fixed. None of those things are inherently bad; however what if prayer is more than getting what we think we need? Maybe God intended for prayer to be more than a platform to submit our requests.

Most of my life I have viewed prayer as a way to get from God what I thought I needed. I would approach prayer as trying to show God why I needed what I was asking for. Sometimes it was for something that was good, other times it was down right selfish requests. My prayer life looked more like a series of sales pitches rather than an authentic relationship. I see now that I was missing out. God intended for prayer to be so much more than what I realized. 

Prayer is more than presenting to God what we need or want. He already knows what we need before we ask. Prayer gives us the opportunity to open up to God what is going on in our hearts and let Him change us. It’s not sitting on Santa’s lap and asking for all we want. It’s more like a child opening up to their parent so they can get to the reason behind the want and help them grow. Prayer is powerful because it can changes us.

Most of us think if we pray enough we can get what we pray for. And when we don’t we naturally assume we didn’t pray the right words or just didn’t pray enough. But God intended prayer to be a connection point to grow our relationship with Him. Prayer is so much bigger than what we give it credit for.

If you look at Jesus’ life you see Him time and time again leaving everyone around Him to be alone and pray. Why? Because He knew that prayer was powerful. It was in those moments He was able to be open and vulnerable with His father. He was able to say what was on His heart. Those moments strengthened Him and made it possible for Him to carry out His mission. Jesus was modeling for us what prayer can do.

I’ve learned this more and more in the nomadic season my wife and I are in. I pray asking God for what I think is best for us or what we need. God has never stopped caring and providing for us, but He doesn’t always comes through the way I asked or thought He would. However what I have noticed is the more I pray the more I change. I’m more comfortable with God’s timing. I have more trust that He will provide in His way at His time. My prayers haven’t changed God; they opened up my heart so that He could change me.

If we are honest I think we like the Santa-like prayers because it puts us in control; it puts us in God’s seat. But that’s not where we are supposed to be. Prayer is more than that. Prayer grows our faith. Prayer lets God in. Prayer brings us peace. Prayer changes us.

Go pray. Give God your heart. Not some neat little prayer of what you think God wants to hear. Say what’s really on your heart. Be real, be authentic, be vulnerable. Open yourself up to the creator of the universe so that He can move in your life.

When we open ourselves up to God we get so much more than what we think we need. We get what only God can give us, what we truly need. Prayer changes us.

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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