Dear friends, the church will never truly understand how important prayer is until we understand one foundational truth: Prayer is not just for our own welfare and benefit-- but for the delight of the Lord.
When we pray we are not only to ask for things we need but also, we must ask for things that God desires.
Christians can be very self-centered and selfish when it comes to prayer. So many times we only go to the Lord to unburden our troubles and sorrows to Him. We seek a supply of strength for our next battle. These things are legitimate and of course we should seek Him for our benefit. But, our praying will not be complete if we do not share His heart.
We are told to come boldly to the throne of Grace that we may obtain mercy and find Grace to help in time of need. [Heb. 4:16]
The Lord tells us to cast all our cares upon Him for He cares for us.[1 Peter 5:7]
God certainly does care about all of our needs. But whereas we seek relief and help from the Lord, He desires fellowship with us-intimacy and communion.
Our primary purpose in praying should always be to fellowship with the Lord. He has already made provision for our every need. We are told that we have not because we ask not. [James 4:2] But we are also told that we ask and receive not, because we ask amiss in order to consume it on our own lusts. [James 4:3] And we are also instructed to love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever. [1 John 2:15-17]
Our heavenly Father knows what we need even before we ask and if God will provide for the birds and flowers, He will certainly take care of us. [ Matthew 6:8,25-33] As we fellowship with the Lord and get to know Him better, and as we seek His kingdom first, our needs will be provided for. God is saying to us:" When you come into My presence, focus your attention on fellowship with Me-- on getting to know Me. Don't let your focus be on material things. I know what your needs are. Seek Me first."
We know that the Lord delights in His people. David said,...He delivered me, because He delighteth in me. [Psalm 18:19]
In Psalm 37:4 the Bible says,"Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart."
"I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste." [Song of Solomon 2:3]
As He delights in us, He wants us to delight ourselves in Him..
Coming to the Lord with delight does not mean we cannot come to Him with sadness and grief. You see, delighting in the Lord means preferring to be with Him above all others. This gives new meaning to our times of being sad, downcast, heavyhearted, or confused. Who do we run to in such times? Whose company do we prefer in such times?
Read the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel for an excellent example of this.
Don't hide from the Lord. Don't run anywhere else. Run straight into His presence and weep out all of your hearts troubles to Him. Tell Him everything you are going through. Let Him have all your saddness. I like the old song that says, take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
The strength you receive from the times of being shut in with the Lord will see you through the hard times you will face in life. In our next article, we will continue looking at "Praying with power".
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