Following Jesus has its difficulties, and prayer ranks near the top. Communication with the God we love shouldn’t distress us, but it often does. Even the apostles needed to ask for a prayer lesson, in Matthew 6:9. Mutual, two-way communication builds any relationship, and the lack brings damage. I do OK with trying to stay aware of God each moment of the day. I try to say thanks for the good stuff and to rely on him for help with the bad stuff. On the big decisions, I’m decent with immersing it in prayer. But I’m not OK with a regular daily time of reading the Bible and praying. Frankly, my overall prayer life falls short of what I desire.
I’ve tried a lot of methods, and most work. For a time. Until they don’t. So I have no magic plan that works for all. But I do have some ideas about prayer and knowing God that might guide you in whatever method you choose to enhance your intimacy with him. Find what works, maybe shift between some, and keep it fresh with these concepts.
God wants us to know him, “This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Our acts transcend duty—it’s a close relationship to cultivate and nurture.
God is a safe zone, “If God is for us, who can be against us?..Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:31, 35). God is on our side, in love and power, and we can trust him.
God cares about the smallest details of our lives, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31). If he cares for such a common bird as sparrows, the odds come down on your side that nothing is too big or small to talk to him about.
God says, “Can we talk?” Rather than being an absentee landlord, he yearns for a closer connection with his kids, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened…your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:7-11). Honestly, this last flows from the first three concepts.
Pretty simple? Sure—in theory! Granted, it’s harder to do. But what a great privilege we have—conversing with the magnificent, transcendent, awesome creator of the universe.
Kick Starting the Application
On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being most satisfied, how would you rank yourself? What part of prayer most frustrates you? What most satisfies you? Take some time to ponder those four concepts. What practical steps can you take this week to enhance your praying?