“Prayer is not only asking, it is an attitude of heart that produces an atmosphere in which asking is perfectly natural.”
I stumbled upon this quote yesterday and just had to pass it along to y’all. Everything about these words resonated with me. Honestly, when I read it, it made me smile and my heart glad.
There are many wonderful books on all the facets of prayer (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication, etc.), and most of the books on our recommended reading list touch on these in varying degrees. But for this post, I want to share a couple of things I’m learning to help simplify a topic that often becomes unnecessarily complicated. It all comes back to relationship.
Turning to Him with the faith of a child; dependent, expectant, and submissive.
Trusting that in His goodness and grace we are free to boldly ask for things only He can do and provide.
Not hesitating to show Him the parts of our heart we’re reluctant to share with anyone else. He sees and knows it all anyway, so why not rely upon Him to change and mold us according to His good pleasure.
A life of prayer is also about the small, unrehearsed inclinations of our hearts, spoken or breathed, directed toward our Heavenly Father. Adoration of Him keeps everything in perspective. Recalling truth about Him serves as both flashlight and compass to navigate whatever comes across our path. We live on a plane that is often pedestrian and harried; in prayer, faith accepts the invitation to “come … learn … and find rest” (Matt. 11:28-29). Here He “overawes our little anxieties and doubts” (1), giving us strength, wisdom, and courage we couldn’t possibly have on our own. And in those all too familiar moments when we still don’t feel we possess these in any measure, He draws us close where we grow to depend on Him a little more each day.
As is often the case, making time and space in our lives for prayer can be a regular hindrance. But, when we do, we always find Him ready to listen and engage our minds and hearts with His presence and truth. Like any other daily discipline, being intentional is the first step toward prayer becoming second-nature. Another common obstacle is single-mindedness. This is one of the reasons I’ve found written prayers to be like a breath of fresh air. My thoughts are less likely to wander when I’m focused on praying the words right in front of me.
Jerry Bridges reminds us that “nothing is too big for Him to handle, and nothing is too small to escape His attention.” Don’t be afraid to ask. He knows your heart. He knows that in our asking, we won’t always get it right. That’s o.k. “Prayer is the most tangible expression of trust in God”. (2) As our Father, He delights in our trust, and in His infinite wisdom and love always gives us what is best.
So today, let’s boldly ask Him to do what only He can do. For broken things to be mended. For what’s lost to be found. For all that is lacking to be provided. For trust to replace fear, gratitude to triumph over cynicism, grace to supersede judgement. For daily renewal so that our choices reflect more of what’s eternal and less of what’s temporal.
“May the words of my mouth, long before they’re out, be ones You can use; and make the thoughts of my heart, long before they start, acceptable to You” (3), oh Lord my rock and my redeemer.
With a glad heart, Love D.
(1) Jonathan Edwards
(2) Jerry Bridges