Week Six: Laying the Foundation – Aspects of Prayer
“Jesus Christ loves the world and He loves the church, but there’s a special bread He feeds those who love Him in private. There’s a divine manna He reserves for those who extravagantly waste themselves in His presence.” – Mike Bickle
A friend of mine once told me that a good way to look at intimacy was “into me, see”. Though it is often not viewed as such, prayer is a dialog, a two-way street, a place where intimacy works both ways.
Moving into a more intimate relationship with the Lord will take you past the “outer courts” and into a more intimate, family setting.
To help paint a picture of this, let’s say for a moment you are in a courtroom about to present your case before the judge. Meticulously you will take the time to point out how your case can be backed by various legal points and promises, knowing that the judge will listen and act according to the law. Now picture with me, if you will, that the judge in this case happens also to be your father, and the two of you are “tight” (you’ve always been a big daddy’s kid). Would you choose to make your case in front of him publicly within the courtroom where he is bound to respond as a judge first and then as a father? Or would you choose instead to approach him in a more intimate setting, where your request can be whispered, knowing it is the heart of the Father that will respond first instead of the Judge?
It goes back to the saying of “it’s not what you know it’s who you know”. We can know and legally stand on God’s promises when we pray, of course. But how much better to do so within that intimate relationship of father-child (in this case) than within the public relationship of judge-citizen?
Reflect: When you pray, how do you approach God?
- With unbelief? “I’ll pray but I’m not expecting anything from it. God never answers my prayers.”
- With formality? “Our Heavenly Father, we ask Thee reverently and in the name of Jesus…”
- With a bit of informality or familiarity? Yo, God, how YOU doin’?
- With false humility? “God, I thank you that I’m not like my neighbor, Pam, boy she’s a real fanatic, isn’t she?”
- How about conversationally? With reverence? Expectantly? In peace and complete trust?
Perhaps you are somewhere in between. Take the time to think about your current approach. Feel welcome to write a few thoughts.
Q: What do you think makes up our prayers to the Lord (what are some key elements)?
I had the privilege of taking a course a few years back offered through INSTE Bible College , where there was a section that discussed what they identified as the six aspects of prayer (most of which are likely taken from 1 Timothy 2:1-2). I believe there is a seventh and that all are important. In case there may be some who have not given it much thought, I’d like to take time to review each one.
- Thanksgiving – Giving thanks to God for what He has done.
- Confession – The realization that without Him, we are undone. We need His forgiveness and strength.
- Intercession – Requesting the blessing of God on behalf of someone else
- Supplication – Praying with a sense of urgency for the Kingdom of God to be established in all the issues we bring before Him
- Petition – asking God to supply our personal needs
- Praise – adoring God for who He is
- Worship – Acknowledging He is God and I am not.
INSTE has praise and worship wrapped into one. I believe they are separate. You can give someone praise without worshipping them. Worship comes out of praise, taking praise one step further and combining it with adoration, devotion, and ardent passion. I may not be willing to go bankrupt or even die for someone I praise, but I would do absolutely anything for someone I worship.
Bottom line, worship goes beyond just the songs we sing. When we spend time recognizing God for who He is, worship through prayer and dialogue with Him really becomes an expression of our lives and our love for Him, because everything we do becomes to honor Him and to fulfill His purposes rather than our own.
Q: What are some of the things we often seek from the hand of God when we pray? What is it that you seek from Him?
We find the Lord asking this in Mark 10:36 – What do you want me to do for you (what is your request)? Here are a few examples of things we often pray for:
- Gift of the Holy Spirit
- Financial stability
- Travel mercies
- Fulfillment of His promises
- Recognition for all we do in His name
- For the work of our hands to prosper
- Salvation for friends and family
- Privileges that come from His kingdom
- Something else?
“The first step towards experiencing intimacy with Jesus is our decision to pursue Him more than we pursue other good things such as anointing, happiness, and success.” – Mike Bickle
Reflect: Can you say that about yourself currently? Do you pray to know Him, really know Him, above seeking anything else that He offers?
Our salvation experience is just the beginning. One of many quotes from Oswald Chambers that I love is “the bedrock of Christianity is personal, passionate devotion to the Lord Jesus. We mistake the ecstasy of our first introduction into the Kingdom for the purpose of God in getting us there; his purpose in getting us there is that we may realize all that identification with Jesus Christ means.”
It is my goal through this study group that we can together continually strive towards a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him. Take some time this week to seek Him out in your secret place. I encourage you to get to know Him for who He is, not what He has done or what He can provide.
SONG: “River Wild”