Posted by: mikenicholsblog | February 21, 2010

prayer as relationship

Who is the most famous person you have been privileged to speak with? At that moment, you probably had a sense of awe in starting the conversation. Your palms were sweaty and you feared saying something dumb, or inappropriate. Rising far above any awe-struck conversation is the opportunity that we have to communicate with God. Through a relationship with Jesus Christ we are given entrance to the throne room. God wants to spend time with us, and there is no need for sweaty palms or a fearful heart. At the moment of your salvation, you were adopted into His family (Romans 8:15). So why, if God wants to spend time with us, and we need Him, do we struggle so much with the issue of prayer?

One of the primary reasons, I believe, is that we view prayer in the wrong context. Whether you are new to faith or a long time follower of Christ, chances are, your prayer life often frustrates you. Could it be that too much emphasis is put on “my requests” and “His answers”? Surely we are to seek God with our burdens, no matter the size. And our Father wants to meet us at our point of need. So what is the right context?! Note the words of author Dr. Larry Crabb, in “The PAPA Prayer” …

The chief purpose of prayer is to get to know God, to deepen our relationship with Him, to nourish the life of God He’s already placed within us, and to do it all to satisfy His desire for relationship with us”.

If you would permit me to ask a personal question, “are you building a relationship with your prayer life”?

During the earthly ministry of Jesus, prayer played a critical role. After an evening of healing, we see a vivid picture of Christ’s relationship with the Father. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). View His life, and you will see constant and deep communion with the Father. Search scripture and you won’t find Christ just giving God His laundry list of requests. He needed and wanted to spend time in prayer. Could it be that we sense so little victory and enjoyment in prayer because we aren’t building a relationship, but simply conveying our needs?

Most parents know the needs of their children and desire to meet them. Those same parents long to meet needs in the context of a relationship. God knows our every need and wants to bless our lives as we spend time with Him, sharing our hearts, and listening to His. You can give God lots of requests, without sharing your heart and listening to His. But you may find that in spending time relating to Him, your prayer life becomes more meaningful, enjoyable and victorious. I wonder if those who see great answers, seek a relationship over the laundry list.

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach the throne
of grace with confidence, so that
we may receive mercy and find
grace to help us in our time of need.

If you are not approaching your prayer life with confidence, it’s time to think about replacing your approach with a new one. You may find that more relating and less requesting will give you greater confidence. Remember, He wants to give us mercy and let us find His grace. Try letting your prayer time be more sharing your heart, and quietly listening to His. And don’t worry; He knows what you need!

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