I am doing a Bible study on prayer with some of the ladies here at Keswick. The book we are going through has really been challenging what I do/do not know about prayer. The topic of this past week’s lesson was “The Author of Prayer”. In this lesson the author stated these words.
“Powerful praying is not a matter of knowing the right words to say, rather it is having a heart that is at God’s disposal- open to hear every sigh and whisper and to echo it in prayer. As God molds your heart so that it matches His, your heart overflows in prayer. What God has spoken in your innermost being guides your lips in prayer.”
I wonder how many of us have considered how great a privilege and responsibility the gift of prayer is. It is a privilege to be able to come before the throne of the Creator of the universe and present your needs to Him knowing that He alone has the power to care for them.
However, it is a great responsibility because when we pray we need to remove us and our selfish wants and desires from the equation and pray as Jesus did about what God would have us pray for.
The Bible tells us that the condition of our hearts will determine the focus of our prayer life. Matthew 12:34 says “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Proverbs 16:23 says “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth.” The condition of our heart will also determine the effectiveness of our prayers. In John 15:7-8 Jesus says “If you remain in Me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” Here Jesus is telling us that if we want to see prayer answered then we must pray according to His will. How does one pray according to the will of God? Think about the person in your life that you are closest with.
You know everything about them- their likes, their dislikes, what makes them happy, and what causes them deep pain. You can look at a situation and determine, based on your knowledge of them, which outcome would please them most. This is the way it should be with God. We should know God in such an intimate way that we know all of His likes, dislikes, what brings Him great joy and what causes Him great sorrow. When we know Him in this way, it will become easier to pray in a way that will please Him most. The only way to truly know God is by reading the Bible. In that book are all of the characteristics and commands of God that will reveal to us who He is. For instance the Bible says “…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:44. We can take this and apply it to all the persecution Christians are facing around the world. It is easy to hate the persecutors, to curse them, to wish evil upon them, and to choose to not even lift them up in prayer, but that is not the heart of God. He loves His enemies. He loves us. We were at one point His enemies. He sent His Son to die for us. He loved us that much.
Do we love our enemies that much? Sincerely? Imagine if we did. Imagine if we started praying prayers straight from the heart of God. How different would our prayer life be?
Ally is married to Keswick’s Guest Services Director Jim Lang, and served as our Snack Shop Supervisor this past summer.