“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” -Mother Teresa
For years I made prayer too hard. I struggled to know how to pray. I was certain if I spoke with more authority, or followed a certain format, I would discover the key to satisfying prayer.
But as I matured and learned from the Teacher, my prayer life took on a different focus. It became more satisfying, and I discovered a liberating truth: Prayer isn’t complicated.
Although I still have much to learn, I rely on these simple steps.
Lean on the Prayer Teacher
The Prayer life of Jesus inspires me. He prayed early in the morning, late at night, and sometimes he prayed all night. Jesus prayed alone and with his disciples. He prayed for his disciples and he prays for us.
After observing the prayer life of Jesus, the disciples asked him to teach them to pray. We can take a cue from the disciples.
He will also teach us how to pray.
The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (7:25).
Jesus is always praying. In fact, he lives to make intercession.
Jesus prays specifically for you. He call you by name. He knows your every concern, and your every need.
Since he prays with perfect clarity, you can join him in what he’s saying. You are never alone in prayer, because the Holy Spirit is praying with you, and through you. Seek his heart and he will give you revelation and wisdom about how to pray.
When in doubt, utter a prayer of agreement. “I agree with you, Jesus. Your will is my heart’s desire.”
We don’t always know what to pray, but he does. Lean on the prayer Teacher.
It took me years to learn this essential element of satisfying prayer. Listen more. Speak less.
Isaiah 50:4 guides me.
The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught (Isaiah 50:4).
Read this verse again. Notice the division of responsibility.
He will give you an instructed tongue.
He will give you a word for the weary. The weary one might be you, or another person God wants you to encourage.
He awakens our ears to listen. We don’t have to strain to hear him. He will speak and he alone can awaken our ears to hear him.
What do we do? We listen.
Prayer isn’t a formula. A prayer pattern working for someone else, might not be your most comfortable way of connecting with him. Allow God to be personal to you, while you eliminate preconceived ideas about prayer. Simply enjoy being with him.
Ask him, “What do you have for me today?” He will lead you into a satisfying relationship with him through prayer.
Matthew 6:6 communicates the essence of simplicity before him. “Here’s what I want you to do. Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God and you will begin to sense his grace” (MSG).
What simple steps have helped you in your prayer life? I look forward to hearing from you.