I believe that prayer is beyond making requests. Unfortunately that’s what we have reduced the concept of prayer to. Like the lawyers, they only pray judges to do something.
That’s not the Christian idea of prayer. It is request-making but it is beyond that. Making request is actually made possible by prayer.
I make reference to the apostles in the book of Acts, saying that they would give themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word, to conclude that the importance of prayer cannot be overemphasized. For the apostles to have concluded thus, I believe there really must have been something more spectacular to prayer than just making of requests. Otherwise, it would have been that they placed more emphasis on telling God what they wanted and they were happy to put that ahead of the Word. I do not believe this to be the case and so I go with the former. Prayer is really important and more so, far beyond the making of requests.
I will not seek to excite or entertain you in this post. I will only make facts clear to us all. I will also not try to make it a long post. It will be succinct.
Prayer for me, for a long time as a kid, was kneeling and saying some words of requests to the ceiling. And after that exercise, mindfully conscious of my every action so I wouldn’t hinder the ceiling from answering me by being bad.
Now, I know better of course. But I still see an adult version of that childhood concept of prayer in many Christians today. In Nigeria, millions of Christians go for monthly Crusades and services with the sole purpose of getting their requests answered. And that happens to be the total sum of what prayer has been reduced to: a time to be sober and ask God for stuff.
I believe prayer to be beyond that. Paul in addressing the Philippians made a statement concerning that has not left me. In Chapter 2 verse 6 he says:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Often times, I believe this is what most Christians see:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing let your requests be made known unto God.
And that’s how we act.
But Paul’s statements clearly points out that our requests must be made known to God through prayer, supplication and thanksgiving.
Our requests will come through the medium of prayer. Prayer is a conduit opened up for us to be able to achieve many goals as defined by God and then also make requests. The reason why we do not get our requests answered are many burial believe this is one of it: we have reduced prayer to request-making.
My description is not good enough. Prayer is the cord that binds you to the Father and the strength of it determines how your requests will be treated by Him.
I keep hammering on this point. Yes, I cannot overstate how important I consider it to be. Prayer is communion. Prayer is a covenant position of relationship with the Father, conversations that brings revelations. God knows your heart, but He still wants you to commune with Him and to open up yourself to receive of Him. That’s prayer. It is a lifestyle of constantly conversing with the Father, enraptured burger beauty of His glory and seeking more and to know more. Prayer is a disposition of the heart towards seeking the revelations of the mysteries of God. A God willing to share Himself with us and to us, He desires earnestly to relate with us on all fronts.
This framework of prayer and communion is what allows us to make requests. This association and relationship positioning is why the Father will listen to us when we ask for things. If we reduce prayer to just mere request-making, the likelihood of getting our prayers answered is quite little if any at all.
It is simple. We as humans find it very hard to approach people we do not know to make requests. When people do, we consider them quite the shameless lot. However, it is easier for someone to approach me for N10,000 if we are close and I know him well. A stranger on the street who does that will meet my fist probably; the con artists in Nigeria are too much!
The same principle applies here, although not exactly, because God is even more merciful and accommodating than humans. Our life of constant fellowship with the Father makes us better persons. We enjoy the company of God and look forward to meeting with Him in our little corner or the little time. We add the Word and the experience us explosive. God loves this kind of fellowship proceeding from a pure heart with no hidden motives. The only motive, to love God and to know Him more, will cement a bond with the Father because He wants that relationship.
Believe me, get this right and let it not be request-centered and you will be amazed at how even your most stupid requests will be answered.
God loves us. He wants us to draw near to Him so we can experience more of this love He has for us and when we take that one little step towards Him, the one mile He will go for us in revealing Himself to us will blow us out of our very skins. And that will keep you coming closer.
For the next few weeks change your prayer habit just a little.
1. Let your prayers be focused on receiving more of Jesus and knowing the heart of the Father. Pray for a better union with His heart and will in all areas of your life.
2. Try not to pray for yourself. Keep those requests down just a little bit and focus on the first step above, more.
3. Pray more for others. Be more concerned about the plight of others and present their case to God with a loving heart.
I believe that God can transform your relationship with Him if your perspective on prayer is transformed in this manner.
Let your priorities be getting a robust prayer (communion) with God and a heart of love for others. That’s a better way. 😀
I hope to shed more light on prayer in the coming days as God gives me grace and as my little experiences can handle.