Most of us do NOT have an effective prayer life.
I'm convinced this is our reality because of our lack of understanding in the process of prayer. If we do succeed in praying daily (which is becoming so rare these days), for the most part it consists of us telling God what we need and want.
Then we go and live our lives.
What a travesty! We become guilty of a casual or perfunctory prayer life without realizing that our outlook determines our outcome. We must have a proper view of the process of prayer, and this includes a mental platform or foundation made up of a principled mindset. There are several key realizations and beliefs we must have to actually have a real prayer life.
In Scripture, we find many uses for prayer, such as prayers for covering, strength, blessing, healing, peace, rest, praise, petition, tearing down of strongholds, and more. The first realization we must have, however, is that we are in a Spiritual War. We pray through Jesus to God against our Enemy. Every prayer encapsulates this process.
Secondly, we must be blameless before God. After our initial prayer of repentance, our prayers must be consistently lifted from a holy life and mind of Christ. We must be holy as He is holy, and this can only be imparted to us through the Holy Spirit working in our surrendered body, soul, and spirit. This is a huge reason we are ineffective in our prayers. Many of us either live with sin in our lives, or we refuse to give full control to the Holy Spirit. We must be sanctified entirely! This empowers us, and makes our prayers effective. "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16)
The third realization we have is that God is bigger. Bigger than what we either know or don't know. Bigger than our limited view of His will. Bigger than anything we can imagine. This realization alone allows us to compare our earthly fear against the backdrop of His nature. "The Fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether" (Psalm 19:9)
Earthly fear loses. Period. And once we live our lives without fear, we start to see the freedom God gives. The abundant life . . .
God is BIGGER.
You can illustrate this point by finding a picture on your wall in your house. Walk up to this picture and put your eye flush against it, as close as you can. Without previously knowing what the picture looked like, there is no way you can discern what the picture is. You are simply incapable of seeing the BIG PICTURE. God reveals to us parts of the picture, as we mature and walk with Him, but His revealed Word is primarily about the Gospel, which is more than enough for now.
He is BIGGER.
And this brings us to another important realization so vital to our mindset of prayer.
It’s not about what we want, only because our wants are so limited. Our view is simply not big enough to even be able to see what we should want.
Our will is not irrelevant, however. No, it is actually the most powerful tool in the makeup of humanity. We do matter in this equation, because and only because He chooses to take our surrendered will and use us, through that choice we make, to do HIS WILL. His will is all-important, and our entire fulfillment, the reason we enjoy life, is found through HIM using US.
He is Trustworthy. For us to realize this in our prayer life, we must give up control. This is so hard for us, but it is vital to our success. We must trust Him with our life. We must lay it down voluntarily for Him to take it up again. This is what the Father commands. What helps us in this process is the growing realization we have that He loves us so much. Couple that with our knowledge that He is bigger, and we have a recipe for trust.
We are to pray Expectantly. Scripture tells us to come boldly to the throne, and why wouldn't we? If we believe and know that He is God, and we have the proper mindset, then there is no reason for a faithless prayer life. The Father's will be done, and we speak through Jesus our intercessor, in His name and for His sake . . . BOLDLY.
"Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever. Amen"
© Copyright Derek Hickman 2009