“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1 (NIV)
In his classic devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers said, “We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.” Prayer enables us to connect to the heart of God and align our lives to His purpose more than our petition. Billy Graham put it like this, “Prayer is the rope that pulls God and man together. But it doesn’t pull God down to us; it pulls us up to Him.”
As we pray, we provide the Holy Spirit with the opportunity to speak to our hearts and reveal to us the ways, purposes and nature of God. We become more intimately identified with Him as we commune with Him and get to know Him better.
I think it’s interesting that the disciples requested that the Lord Jesus teach them to pray, not just how to pray. The truth is prayer is hard work. One of my prayers is like that of the disciples. “Lord, teach me to pray.” I find it easier to write on prayer, teach on prayer and preach on prayer than to pray.
The first battle to deal with in prayer for me is wandering thoughts. I’m mentally distracted and have to focus my minds attention and my heart’s affection on God. Perhaps that’s why David prayed early in the morning. In Psalm 5:3 he said, “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Early mornings offer the least distractions and most solitude for me to pray.
While we’re instructed to pray without ceasing, by maintaining an attitude of prayer in a connection with God throughout the day, it’s vital for our spiritual development to set aside a specific time and place to commune with God alone. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 (NIV) I like that.
Consider prayer a divine appointment between you and God! Go into your room today, close the door and talk with your Father. He knows all about you and loves you. Use this time of prayer to get to know Him better.