Describing Quality Prayer in
Talking plainly with God on a variety of topics that concern you and Him.
Ephesians 6:18 I Thessalonians 5:17
Pray at all times ...
Prayer is often looked upon as upward focused where prayer man only speaks to God. Indeed this is prayer, but it lacks the reflective and hearing aspects of God speaking to us. Prayer is more like a conversation; a time of communing.
Just as God spoke with Moses and Jesus, so He desires to speak to us. We are not speaking of audible voices necessarily. We do see examples of audible voices, but more often they are not so described.
Think of prayer. Do we not often pray silently? Real words and thoughts are directed to God in our hearts. Remember Hannah's prayer? She prayed in her heart only moving her lips (1 Samuel 1:13). God often speaks to us in a similar way through our thoughts. Some of us just have never paid attention. The most familiar example is through our conscience, when we think of something we have done wrong and there is tinge of guilt. It is important that prayer is conversational in style. Many of His people might not hear Him merely because they do not expect Him to speak with them or they rush through their prayers.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;" (John 10:27).
An example of this conversational prayer can be found in the Lord's prayer where it is mentioned, "Lead me not into temptation." We could just state this toward God, but the intention is to reflect on ones life when saying it. Here is an example.
"Lord, I need you to help me not to go into temptation."
(The Lord puts into your mind the thought of a colleague that has been starting to get to you with her flirting. You then say to God.)
"I especially need your help with Carol. You know how she is flirting with me. Even worse, I have allowed myself to enjoy it rather than ask her politely to stop."
(Then the Lord puts in your mind how you can do this. You can tell her how much you enjoy your wife and plan to have a great time with her this week! You then say to God.)
"Thank you Lord for this good idea. Help me to do this just in the right way to glorify you, honor my wife and let Carol know I am off limits. In Christ's name I pray, Amen."
Prayer is twoway communication. We need to practice to be better in our conversations. More than this, we need to concentrate on listening which is said to be an art! If we are sensitive to God in our prayers, the Holy Spirit will continually intersperse ideas while we pray.
There are dangers in that we do not understand that the evil one also can give us thoughts. However, these always go counter to the Spirit and are often filled with pride, fear and stubborness. Detecting the Lord's voice is a growing process, but if one asks to be taught, then by faith God's child is able to move ahead much quicker in learning. God often tells us how He answers our prayers while we are actually talking to Him, but we never realize it!There are many ways to actively meditate. This 'word by word' is just one means to have this reflective time in Bible study. In fact, we might tend to separate Bible reading and prayer, but they work best when one is doing both at the same time. Sure there might be a special intercessory time, but often this can be directed and empowered further by what God speaks to you that day.
Devotions is primarilly a time of meeting with God. We use prayer, Bible reading and singing, but they need to be done with a strong spirit of reflection. Remember how God spoke to Moses. We need to be insistent and absolutely honest with God. Otherwise He just might let us speak to some stone wall. If that is all that we want, He might give it to us.
What do you want? Do you really want to meet with God? Then have some tissues handy. Have a humble heart because He often points out our weaknesses and sins. But it is always good, oh so good to meet the everlasting One in all of His love. David said it so well,
"One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to meditate in His temple." (Psalms 27:4).
"How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee, To dwell in Thy courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, Thy holy temple." (Psalms 65:4).
"For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God, Than dwell in the tents of wickedness." (Psalms 84:10).
There is no better thing in the world than to converse with our God in His love and grace. Are our prayers ritualistic or real? Do we meet the Lord or are we just playing religious games? If you have tolerated pretending devotions and not really meeting God, will you pause and ask for forgiveness just now? He wants us to come before Him with all our hearts.
Let's now take a look at having quality Bible reading during personal devotions! Next