Every. Single. Day. I keep thinking I’ll wake up one day and I’ll already be gloriously in the Spirit, patient with others, self-disciplined, ready to come to Jesus. Hasn’t happened yet, friends. I wake up to my hair plastered to my face, a serious dread of the exercise DVD, and temptation to watch movies in bed. Every. Single. Day. And you know what? It’s important that I realize this may never change. It’s important that I realize this decision is mine. Every. Single. Day.
Every morning we’re faced with this need for a death to self and an awakening to our new Life, who we are in Christ. We can stay in the easy-peasy already warmed up vehicle of the flesh or we can do the work, pulled up out of ourselves by the grace of God, to walk in the Spirit! One of the greatest ways to make that transition from flesh to Spirit, and then remain there in Him, is prayer.
Prayer can be talking, listening, or just connecting. It can be serious intercession for others or it can be journaling your thoughts, needs, and thanks. It can go on all day while you’re doing other things, a continual turning your face to Him, or it can be a time of sitting or walking while specifically focused on prayer. For me, it’s all of the above.
All in all, it is simply learning that beautiful practice of abiding in His presence, like John 15 describes, and acknowledging His nearness. A partnership grows, secrets are shared, and new purpose is given to life! We can actually learn to pray exactly what He wants us to pray, and a cycle is formed: He invites us to pray what is on His heart, we listen and agree with Him, we pray His Word back to Him and ask for specific things for ourselves and others, and His hand moves. He lets us in on this, friends! Our prayers spur His action!
A few basics of prayer that I’m not ashamed to say are still rocking my world:
1. Philippians 4:6 & 7//Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. We present our requests, many of which He put on our hearts in the first place. We can offer up thanks with these requests–thanks for all He has done, for His nearness, and for the beauty of where we are at this moment even before He answers. I think of this verse as I’m going before a trusted Judge or committee, and presenting my request, laying the file before them, asking for their careful thought and decision.
2. 1 John 5:14//This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. Isn’t this amazing? We didn’t mail in this request and wonder if it got lost in transit! He hears us and is actively working on our case. This blesses me tremendously. I can relax under this truth, while still asking, I’m at rest. Knowing He has heard me lets me move on and make sure my prayer life isn’t all about asking! It’s about dwelling and communing, too. Intercession and intimacy cannot be separated from one another. One might get heavier than the other at times, but for either to be true, we must have them both.
3. 1 John 3:21-22//Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him. Kind of a risky verse to post, but I believe it. In God’s timing, as we learn surrender and obedience and the sound of His voice, I do believe we will receive from Him anything we ask. Who we are while we wait is key…In prayer, it really is more about the journey than the destination, whether we like that or not. When we pray, do our hearts condemn us? Do our hearts tell us what we’re asking for really isn’t God’s will? We need to listen for that, and find out what He actually does want us asking for.
4. Psalm 75:2//You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly.” He hasn’t forgotten. And He is good. Deep breaths. The time will come.
When we are asking and waiting for specific things, or confessing sin, or giving Him total freedom to rule our day, all of which are prayer, a death to self happens. And finally, there is room for our new Life in Christ–who we really are in Him–to raise up. Day by day, morning by morning, we choose to live.
This is a new song I wrote last month, “Turning the Tide”, about a vision He gave me during my prayer time. Please forgive my really boring video technique! It’s just the quickest way to share the song, but hopefully soon I will be doing more recording.