Do you enjoy prayer? I mean, do you HONESTLY love praying?
As a charismatic Christian, the obvious answer should be yes. But, the majority of Christians would probably have that eye bulging moment when you pair prayer with enjoyable.
To most, it’s just a duty.
If you don’t already hold this view, maybe a new view on prayer will help you out.
Which is more important, the first or second commandment?
In Matthew 22:36-40 Jesus made a huge statement:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
For quite some time most ministry work has centered on the Second Commandment; reaching out to the world with the love of God.
However, for the work of the Second Commandment to be effective and anointed it should be accomplished by individuals whose hearts are alive and passionate in intimacy through experiencing the reality of the First Commandment; loving the Lord God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.
It is essential that we restore the First Commandment to first place. With the First Commandment in first place, our hearts are energized in love. Outreach to the lost (the Second Commandment) then becomes a natural overflow of a life that is soaring in intimacy with God.
Out of the fire and into the frying pan
How we see the kingdom affects how and if we pray.
Or, we only want closeness to avoid punishment, which results in external righteousness.
If we have a growing revelation that He is the very definition of love, that He longs to be near us and that He actually likes us, then we will think about the Kingdom of God much more fondly and desire to give our time to Him.
Then we can pursue the most pleasurable and important relationship available to the human heart; the knowledge of God!
So, how do I get there? 3 Steps to Enjoyable Prayer
1. Restoration of the First Commandment
This means aggressively pursuing and producing love for God. Restoration of the First Commandment requires all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:36-37).
As we aggressively pursue this call, which means ruthlessly eliminating what distracts us, our heart, soul, mind, and strength come into agreement. Our actions line up with our thoughts and heart.
Instead of having good outward actions but a bad, dull and loveless heart, the 2 work together.
This cannot be attained without deep fellowship with the Holy Spirit. We do our part (aggressively pursuing God by putting ourselves in a position to be in relationship with Him and ruthlessly eliminating distractions) while the Holy Spirit reveals the Father to us (John 16:13-15)
The result: we want to pray and it becomes enjoyable!
2. Exploring the Bridal Paradigm
The Kingdom of God can be compared to many things as Jesus Himself used many parables to depict the Kingdom in various ways.
A collective view of the Kingdom parables points to a reality that is neglected, the Bridal Paradigm of the Kingdom where we, the saints, are referred to as the Bride and Jesus is the Heavenly Bridegroom who is eagerly waiting to return to His bride (us).
Jesus repeatedly used bridegroom terminology when referring to Himself. John the Baptist and the Apostle John also referred to Jesus as the Bridegroom.
This is not a theoretical approach to the Scriptures, it is the actual storyline of the End Times and seeing it clearly and greatly changes the way we approach God, view ourselves and the Last Days.
Once this veil is removed from our eyes, we interact with Jesus differently in prayer, and the worship songs go to a whole new level of intimacy (Ephesians 3:16-19).
3. Overcoming the sin nature with Wild Repentance
Scripture is clear that when we confess our sins God will forgive us and purify us (1 John 1:9).
Many believers live disconnected from God due to a false view that God cannot or will not forgive them and that He is angry with them.
We can all learn a lesson from King David. Imagine David’s situation after committing adultery. He is King of Israel. He instituted night and day prayer and worship before God. He loves being before God. Yet he just broke a commandment or 2. Then we find his immediate reaction in Psalm 51.
This is wild repentance! And to make it even more wild, this was hundreds of years before the New Covenant!
With right perspective (I love God and He loves me), we need to set our minds on that which is beneficial so that we may behold Christ (Colossians 3:2-3).
God loves us and has invited us into that love, counting even the smallest movements of our hearts to be real and valuable!
He sees the motives of your heart and knows perfectly your desires and He delights in you. He is full of compassion, mercy and grace. He loves perfectly, always forgives and embraces us just where we are.
Once we understand how God feels about us, we can begin to see prayer really as bridal partnership. Prayer becomes intimate participation with the Lord in the things He wants to do.
Prayer is primarily about Him, not our lists, not revival, not even transformation. All of these are important. Revival and transformation flow from prayer. But prayer is primarily the connection to the heart and desires of God (Luke 10:38-42).
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Also published on Medium.