All relationships begin with communication. Your relationship with God commences with prayer.
Until we learn more about who God is and what He wants for our lives, our prayers tend to revolve around ourselves. And sometimes we ask for things that don’t serve our best interests:
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. Jm. 4:3 NASB
Fortunately, God only answers those prayers that align with His will – a divine mindset that only provides that which promotes our highest and best life:
…if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 Jn. 5:14, 15. NKJV
God loves you so much that He wants your relationship to be a full-time affair. So, this must also be reflected in your prayer:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Th. 5:17, 18. ESV
Coming back to your prayer being in alignment with God’s will, you must pray with a forgiving heart, because He will not hear you if you bear malice towards anyone. (Mk. 11:25) Also, you must first get right with God yourself (through confession and repentance) before He will hear you. (Ps. 4:3) And, you must have faith in God’s ability and desire to answer your prayer. (Heb. 11:6)
God loves you and wants to grant you your heart’s desires. You don’t have to be ‘special.’ God doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t practice partiality. Everyone is special to Him. What He wants, is your authenticity:
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. Ps. 145:18 NKJV
Even in our weakness, God sends the Holy Spirit to us to strengthen and perfect our prayers for the greatest effect / response. (Rm. 8:26)
The only thing that gets in the way of our praying is when we give into our humanity. Sometimes our prayers are not answered (at least not in the way we imagined), or it seems that God is taking His sweet time in doing so, or we think that He has rejected them altogether. We begin to think that prayer doesn’t work.
It exposes the weakness in our faith. Instead of asking Jesus to strengthen our faith, [because He always will (Heb. 12:12)], we put shame and guilt upon ourselves and pray even less, or not at all. We get more hung up on the ‘proper mechanics’ of prayer rather than keeping our focus on the Father and the Son, to whom we are praying to.
Prayer is your God-connection. Because life happens to us continually and at full-speed, we want to be having that running conversation with Him. Prayer is like any other endeavor; it improves with practice. It’s a part of your spiritual make-up. God placed that channel in you; but you have to start the communication. He’s always right there. (Mt. 28:20)
God is in control of everything. He’s the one you want to talk to. The more that you make your needs and the needs of others known to Him, the more God is going to show up to answer the prayers that bring you closer to Him, which is where you will find your highest and best life.
If some prayers aren’t answered, they didn’t meet that criteria. Doesn’t make Him neglectful; God is looking out for you. The ones that are answered will bolster your faith, increase the efficacy of your prayers and embolden you to pray all the more – simultaneously advancing the Kingdom.
Concurrently, God starts removing the dross laid upon you from your foray into the world; then your true shining self begins to emerge.
God does not expect you to show up as a perfect person or prayer-giver. Your time spent with Him will get you there. Your ‘authentic self’ is who God wants to meet face-to-face. If you ask Him, He will reveal your inauthenticity. And that’s a good thing, because then you can see what you need to step away from – with His help.
Neither does God want you to come to Him in prayer as cool and calculated. You can approach Him wild and weepy. He wants to meet you wherever you’re at because He wants to deliver you from your problems, and then meet and exceed your needs.
“…I am with you [always] to protect you and deliver you,” says the LORD. Jer. 1:19 AMP
Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us… Eph. 3:20 AMP
If you could have had that perfect life as a perfect person, you would have done that already. But nobody can. Why? Because our lives cannot be whole until they are lived with God inside of us. Prayer invites Him in, and our continuing use of them is what keeps Him there. It cements our relationship. Thus, you must set aside regular intervals to do that.
And remember, that channel to God can only open and flourish when we invite Christ in our heart. Also keep in mind that there is someone (Satan) who does not want you to pray. He wants your relationship with God to be dead. So, if you’re struggling with prayer or you don’t think it has any value, remember that those thoughts are from the pathetic squawking of that enemy on your left shoulder. But we know that Jesus has overcome that liar (Jn. 16:33)
So, shrug those doubts off, like water from a duck’s back. Take a deep breath and call out again to your Maker. Knowing that you have Jesus at your back will encourage you to be dauntless and audacious in your prayer. Expect answered prayer and be thankful before and after that answer comes.
…I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Ps. 20:6 AMP
“Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name [in prayer]. Make His deeds known among the peoples [of the earth]; proclaim [to them] that His name is exalted.” Is. 12:4 AMP
God always wants to work with you, but you must bend your will to His. When we come to Him in humility, we can ask and keep on asking, until the answer comes. And remember that Jesus is your conduit to the Father. When we ‘seal’ our prayers in Christ’s name, they are presented to the Father in their proper ‘Holy Spirit wrapper’ – guaranteed to be considered.
God never said that life would be easy. At times, we all suffer. In those sufferings, God is trying to get our attention, to pray to Him because He has something to work out with us. Maybe our character needs a little tweaking, we might need greater clarity as to how we might be contributing to our suffering, or we need to pray for others around us to help with their suffering, both to help them and to keep it from spilling over on us as well.
In all suffering, God delivers us or shows us the way out of it. As a bonus, He molds us to more like His Son in the process.
What is prayer? It’s a gift from God – a communicative channel through Christ to access them both. When we do that, we invite them to live in us, which they are more than happy to do.
They accept you just as you are. The only qualification, (and it is a continuing one), is that you confess and repent when find yourself straying from and or actively being contrary to God’s plan for your highest and best life.
When we stay in continuous conversation with God, humbly laying our will aside and living out His instead, walking in forgiveness for everyone, including ourselves, placing others’ needs above our own, and showing up as our true authentic selves in gratitude, God shows up in a HUGE way.
Your joy will be abundant and your life extraordinary.
That’s the kind of relationship God wants to have with everyone.
There can be more to the depth of your relationship by getting to know God more intimately. It’s not required, because our finite minds can never grasp His magnificent infinite magnitude. Yet it is interesting to explore what we can.
To be continued…
Goodnight and God bless.