Earlier this week, we tackled the oft-taboo question: “Does prayer actually do anything?”
Our conclusion? It absolutely does…but not necessarily in the way that we hope or expect. Through prayer, we grow intimately connected to our Father.
Prayer, then, is how God gets what He wants…and not the other way around. Does that make your world shift a little on its axis? Yeah…mine, too.
I recently heard in a sermon on intercessory prayer (linked below), I tend to approach prayer more like a written letter than a conversation.
Thank you for this day. I’m here today to….
Somehow I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to be, you know? But since I made this recent discovery about the purpose behind prayer, my own prayers have begun shifting. Approaching prayer as a way to make something happen has never worked for me. Approaching it as a way to grow in my relationship with God? That’s different. That’s powerful.
Consider Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26. Jesus began by addressing God as His Father – and not just “father,” but Abba. Daddy. From there He presents His request….but does so even with His focus on God rather than Himself. (Also of note: God did not answer the prayer in the way Jesus would have liked. Jesus’ prayer “wasn’t answered.” Does that make you feel a little better about why God might not answer yours?)
The first thing any of us has to do in building a relationship – a real, intimate, authentic relationship – is to find out who the other person is. And when I begin prayer not with a shallow, obligatory greeting but by addressing God for who He really is, my heart and mind shift away from my desires. My focus becomes more about Him and far less about me.
How do we do that, though? Marissa told us about the Lord’s Prayer last week, which begins by calling God “Our Father In Heaven.” I’d say that’s a pretty terrific way to start (and not just because Jesus said so, too).
- Addressing God as my Father shifts my thinking from that of a beggar to that of a child.
- Addressing God as my Savior shifts my thinking from that of entitlement to that of gratitude.
- Addressing God as my Shepherd shifts my thinking from that of one who knows best…to one who really doesn’t know anything at all.
Starting the conversation by addressing God for who He is shifts my thinking from who I am…to who God says I am.
My challenge to you? Make a list of the names of God – Father, Savior, Shepherd, King, etc. Use one name each day to begin your prayers. Don’t simply say the name, but expound on it. What does that name mean? What does that name mean to you?
It’s a simple step, but I believe it can completely rock the way we see prayer. If you decide to try it, let us know! Send us a message in social media or comment on this post. You can also tag your posts with #HFLprays. We’d love to take this journey alongside you!
Worthy of Your Name (This song – by Passion – is one of my current favorites. It gives different names for God, so this might be a good starting place for your new prayer journey!)