Last week, I began a three-part series to really dig deeper into our relationship with God. I decided to start with worship because it always comes easiest to me. Prayer used to be easy for me as well. Prayer was something I did all the time. As a little kid, I can remember myself walking around talking to God constantly throughout my day. I was lucky enough to get my prayer language before I even entered high school. But for some reason, as I got older, prayer began to be more difficult. I started thinking, “is this prayer not big enough, bold enough?” or, “God already knows the desires of my heart, there is no need to sit here and pray for a long time.” If you are a prayer warrior or have never spoken the words “amen” out loud, I want you to be able to understand power held in our conversations with God.
Prayer is often thought to be one of the most controversial topics in Christianity. Since the birth of Christ until now, there have been over 40 major divisions within the faith and an estimated 41,000 denominations to be created. Prayer is perceived so differently in each one. In Catholicism, it is often memorized. In the Pentecostal sector, it is mostly spoken in tongues. Why is prayer so often a point of a disagreement? Well, if I learned anything from last week’s discovery, I’d say it’s because there is power the enemy wants to weaken.
The enemy wants to weaken our ability to hear God’s voice and understand that He is there. He wants to fill us with distractions and controversy so that we have a hard time seeing the truth. There was a season of my life in which I was so distracted by my own “problems” that my prayers were empty and lifeless. I was frustrated by the fact that God wasn’t listening to me despite the fact that I was only pretending to listen to Him! I have grown less sure of the idea that God is always silent and more aware of the fact that I am often too distracted to hear Him.
We need to remove distractions from our lives and make time to be open to hearing His voice. There is nothing wrong with praying in the car, saying a prayer as you step into a job interview or an important meeting, or right before a meal. In fact, I encourage it. It is just so hard to be able to fully dive into your time with God when you are also focusing on the other things going on around you. There is something so powerful about sitting on your bedroom floor, fully focused on the glory of God and all that He has for you.
The times I have felt God the loudest were when I was silent. When my prayers were gone, I was drained empty, worship music was playing and I had spoken, “God speak to me” a thousand times. Those were the moments where a peace would wash over me and I could fully feel God’s presence. God often speaks, “hush, my loved one. I am here,” after these moments. God is not loud, angry, or boisterous. He is soft, loving, and tender to us when we silence the world just to be in His presence. In prayer, we can understand more about the Spirit and tenderness that make up our loving Father.
Whatever we ask of God, He gives it to us. Not in the greedy, spoil your child way, but in the way a good parent does: when the child is ready to receive it. You don’t give a baby chewing gum when they are teething. They will choke on the gum and end up worse off than when they were crying before you gave them what they thought they wanted. God acts in this same manner. When we cry out to God, he hears us. Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” God prepares our hearts and our spirit to be ready to accept the answers to prayers we have given.
Prayer is so important and vital to a strong relationship with God. One of my favorite verses about prayer is Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” God does not keep secrets nor does He hide from us. He is waiting on the other side of the door with open arms. Eliminate your distractions and understand that God’s timing is better than your own and your prayer life will grow stronger and more intimate with Him.