In the Valley
Have you ever found yourself deep in the valley of despair? That place where you feel disconnected from God and your prayers are unheard? We’ve all experienced this to some degree and it’s here that our view of prayer guides our response to the despair.
What is Prayer?
As we seek to define prayer, a task undertaken by mankind for centuries, I want to introduce you to Timothy Keller. His book “Prayer: Awe and Intimacy” does a remarkable job at explaining the true purpose and pursuit of prayer. If you are truly not getting all you want from prayer, I recommend picking up a copy of this book and devoting an hour or so to enjoy the depths of the first few chapters.
It is here that he says:
“Prayer is continuing a conversation that God has started through his Word and his grace, which eventually becomes a full encounter with him.”
It’s Not About Us
So we see that prayer is an activity that we participate in but it is initiated by God! He has started the conversation with us AND desires for us to respond to Him! How do we do this? We devote time to Him and set our desires aside, for our emotions can betray us and draw us from the life-giving presence of God. When we realize that God wants to hear us and speak to us more than we want to, our hearts begin to be drawn to Him in love.
God’s Word Is Essential to Prayer
Timothy Keller points at that:
“God’s words, however, cannot fail their purposes because, for God, speaking and acting are the same thing.”
This is unbelievably powerful when we realize that we have God’s Word in written form! The Bible is key to praying and prayer is found from Genesis to Revelation. Genesis 4:26 records the moment when people began to pray or call upon the name of the Lord. If your not getting all you want from prayer, bring your Bible with you the next time you pray and use it as a launchpad for prayer.
Prayer Is Life
Prayer cannot be relegated to a duty, a must do item in our day. True, sustainable prayer flows from a heart that desires to pray. When we find ourselves forging a prayer path or trudging through the valley, we must focus our eyes above the emotions and circumstances, realizing that prayer connects us to the true source of life. It is through this disciplined time with the Lord that His grace imparts a desire for Him!
Another modern writer on prayer, Ricahrd Foster, says:
“For those explorers in the frontiers of faith, prayer was no little habit tacked on to the periphery of their lives; it was their lives. It was the most serious work of their most productive years. Prayer – nothing draws us closer to the heart of God.”
If your not getting all you want from prayer, remind yourself that prayer is life. It’s a lifelong pursuit and it connects us to the Father in a way that no other discipline can.
Getting All You Want from Prayer
Prayer is rich. Prayer is deep. Prayer is life. Prayer is widely written about and an abundance of resources are available. I hope and pray that the resources below will guide you to connect with the Father!