You’ve indulged in holiday treats both sweet and savory. You’re ready to get your physical self in shape through healthier eating and exercise coupled with fasting. But in what shape is your prayer life? If you desire to shape up your prayer life for 2015 and beyond, here are four key elements to enhance your approach to prayer.
1) God Wants to Commune with Us.
Prayer enables us to share our concerns, gratitude, and requests before God. But what should blow our mind is that the King of kings wants to commune with US! Merriam-Webster defines “commune” as “to communicate with someone or something in a very personal or spiritual way; intimacy in exchange of thoughts and feelings.” He wants to share with you. Our goal in 2015 and beyond is to enhance our daily commune with God; to give Him priority so He can direct our steps.
2) Want What God Wants.
When we come before God in prayer, we may be ready to lead with our laundry list of needs and desires. Instead, get quiet before the Lord and ask, “God, what do you want for me? What do you want for your people?” When we get interested in God’s business, we will find ourselves to be the solutions to many of these areas as well. Through prayer, we become co-workers with God.
3) The Lord’s Prayer: The Perfect Template and Approach to Prayer.
Many of us can recite The Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13. But is it more important that we recite the words, or more importantly, approach prayer as that spiritual template in which we should pray? Verse 9 begins, “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.”
Here, we direct our prayers to our Heavenly Father, and worship His holy name; we reverence Him. Verse 10 reads, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” directs us to seek God’s will done in our lives, not our will. We “want what God wants.” Verse 11: “Give us this day our daily bread,” compels us to trust God daily for our provision. He is our source—not our bank accounts or jobs. Even moments when resources are tight, He provides our needs. Verse 12: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” means just that. Lord, forgive us and help us to forgive those who have wronged us. And finally, verse 13: “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever” means, “Lord, save me from the evil one of this world, and the evil that may reside within my own heart.”
Charles Holmes, Jr., a current affairs researcher for the Christian think tank, FreedomSquared.org, says this regarding prayer: “We must get to a point where we’re joyfully doing His will here on Earth. We ask God to give us insight on how to advance His Kingdom on this Earth, to learn our role in His Kingdom, and that it would manifest in us.”
For more on approach to prayer, listen to Holmes share on our November 2013 Voices Against the Grain radio show episode entitled, “The Highest Form of Worship.”
4) Move in Obedience and Anticipate Distractions.
As you’re praying and walking in obedience to the Lord’s will for your life, prepare for distractions. Distractions can come from the enemy, from people (even unintentionally), or even from ourselves. God has given us each a domain in which to operate and He desires that we bear fruit. As our prayer life expands, so will our domain; our fruit/influence along with distractions. Each of us has a hierarchy of evil working against us. Anticipate the enemy’s attempt to derail or destroy your efforts. Remain prayerful and continue to move obediently in your domain. Only in Christ Jesus can we conquer the enemy’s resistance.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14)