“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you. (Jeremiah 29:12-14)
Some lines linger long, and stamp themselves deep within. “Solving the problem is never the point. Finding God is,” is one such memorable quote from Dr. Larry Crabb. It reminds me that prayer is never about God fixing our problems, although we have an accumulation of those. Prayer is truly all about us finding him.
Jeremiah 29:12-14 backs up that claim and describes prayer as seeking, searching, and finding God as we pursue him with all our hearts. Tim Keller puts it this way: “Prayer is awe, intimacy, and struggle – yet the way to reality. There is nothing more important, or harder, or richer, or more life-altering. There is absolutely nothing so great as prayer.”
Perhaps the best way to develop a deeper and richer prayer life is to first ask God to give us that longing, that desire to pray. The beautiful thing is, as God awakens in us a hunger to communicate with him, we will likely make certain to do just that!
Practicing silence and solitude becomes an avenue to create space for prayer. We are a people addicted to noise and need to break the habit. Realizing that we are desperate to hear God’s voice and for him to hear ours, it is essential to turn it off, put it down, unplug it, walk away from it – whatever the “it” might be that is keeping us wrapped up. How on earth will we ever prioritize our relationship with the Lord if we allow other distracting voices to continually drown his out?
Of course, we can pray anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Our eyes may be open or shut; we can be on our face, our knees, or our feet. Our hands may be lifted high, or lying by our side, or folded in our lap. None of these are significant. The idea is – pray.
Over the years I have discovered the joy of using Scripture as a prompt to know how to pray. What do I mean? Seated on my couch with the Bible in my lap, I invariably come across a verse or two that grabs my attention. Rather than moving on to the next passage, I stop, and pray those specific phrases back to God in the form of a prayer. Scripture becomes a two-way conversation with the Almighty.
For instance, if I read Jeremiah 29:12-14, (noted at the beginning of this blog) I might pray something like this: “Father, thank you that I can call on you, and come and pray to you anytime. Thank you that you are a God who hears and answers prayer. Help me to keep seeking after you. May our children continue to seek you and find you and pursue you with all their hearts. Forgive me, dear Lord, when I choose to search after other things far less worthy than you. As a family, give each of us a heart that longs always for you. Amen.”
God has provided the Scriptures for us to know him. Throughout the Old and New Testament, we have his words that help us to pray. Don’t overlook this incredible gift he left us. More than likely, wherever you are in Scripture you will find specific direction on precisely how to pray. Solving the problems in our lives is never the point of prayer. Keep in mind that finding God always is.
“Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things he has for us…It is the way we know God…Prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life. We must learn to pray. We have to.” – Tim Keller
Elizabeth A Mitchell
Photo Credit: Bill Mitchell