During the past two months at The Covenant Center we have set aside one hour each evening for prayer. It has been a wonderful experience of intimacy with the Lord and has reincorporated a life style of setting time aside to be with Him. For me, rather than just praying throughout the day when I have time, I must also deliberately set time aside to be with Him, just as I set time aside to spend with Becky.
Communicating with God all day long combined with my normal work day and ministry is extremely important. However, alone time with Him is obviously one of our greatest experiences as stated in John 17:3: And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
I find it necessary to go back to the thought process of Jesus and the Hebraic perspective regarding prayer to better understand the Bible and what the author originally intended to express. A basic belief is that God is the Ruler and Creator of the Universe and the prophets remind us that both good and evil bring about His purposes. God is also good and holy and will bring the best result even if we do not think so. It is helpful to evaluate circumstances trusting in His character and not the appearance of actions. Otherwise what we observe many times will not make sense to us. His ways are not our ways. Therefore, we trust in God's character or we fight for what we think is fair in our version of events. If we focus on what is fair complaining may become one of the byproducts.
A normal Christian prayer might be to ask God for what we need. However, the Hebrew prays that his heart will be transformed in such a way that he will be fully prepared to accept what God has to offer. This perspective allows God to choose what is best and give what is necessary as we ask Him to align our heart and thoughts with His. As we communicate with Him in prayer, we learn to trust by His grace, that He already knows what is right, holy, and is His perfect action for each situation. Otherwise, we may find prayers unanswered and shift into frustration or disappointment.
You can count on God to do what is best for you and His creation. Our part in prayer is to prepare our hearts to accept what He is doing. As we stand in this place with Him, we discover true peace. If we enter prayer with the idea we must convince God to act righteously for us, we enter a relationship founded on manipulation rather than surrender. If grace is God doing something for us by His love, that we can not do for ourselves, then we can stand in His grace knowing He will act accordingly.
Jesus gave us the ultimate prayer model in Matthew 6:9-13. Next time, I would like to investigate the "Lord's prayer" in a little more detail, so we can begin to understand how much Hebraic thought went into His abbreviated example to us.
Till then, God bless you and keep you always.