Routine or Relationship?
I am not claiming to have all the answers regarding prayer. In fact, even as I write this article, I am overwhelmed and in awe of God. I am not the person to give you advice on how to approach the King of the Universe, the Creator of heaven and earth. I am writing from the view of someone who is on her knees looking up in awe of how powerful and amazing God truly is.
I do not deserve answers to prayer. I do not deserve his incredible mercy. Yet somehow, He continues to shower me with what I like to refer to as a bucket of endless grace and love. As I was growing up and even into my adult life, I think that I had it all wrong, for my prayer life was more of a routine than a relationship. I prayed over meals. I prayed in the morning and at night. And I would occasionally pray during the day, as things came up.
But in August of 2019, I personally met the most amazing God of love. I encountered His goodness, and it changed me profoundly. And what I have been learning on my journey with God ever since is that my prayer life truly is a conversation with Him. “He is seeking to lift [us] into companionship with himself.”1
Prayer needs to become an extension of your relationship with God. If your prayer life seems stale, consider examining your relationship with the Almighty God together with some deep heart-searching. Are you spending quality time with Him? Or do you rush to your knees, go quickly over your requests, and rush back out?
Quality time involves both parties to the conversation mutually talking and sharing. Such reciprocal exchange is a principal foundation of a healthy relationship. As an example, you could go to your knees with your bible in your hand. Then start with praising God for who is He is, while thanking Him for all He has done for you. I like to think of praise as the equivalent of knocking on the door to ask if I can come into His presence for a visit. “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving” in your heart (Psalm 100:4).
Using this approach to seek and find Him, once the door is open (so to speak), I come into His presence, and I tell Him the things about which I am concerned. I share my joys. I thank Him for answering prayers. I ask for His peace, joy, and strength to serve Him. I open my bible to read some verses, and then I pause before Him to see what He may be pleased to share with me. His Holy Spirit speaks to us through the word of God; the bible is God’s holy word. I like to recite verses that I have been working on memorizing, asking if He would like to teach me something new.
I am just giving you some suggestions here. For instance, though I do not have the best singing voice, I will often sing a hymn during prayer time, for I know that He hears the rejoicing in my heart. With some effort on your part, your prayer time too can become a beautiful time of communion with our Savior.
DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED. I do not always feel close to God. DO NOT GO BY YOUR FEELINGS. I do not rely on how I feel. This steadfast attitude takes time and effort to develop, but you will be richly rewarded. When tempted to discouragement, I remember His promises in His word.
Call to Action
My goal during prayer is to get to know God better, to be near Him, and to develop a deeper relationship with Him. God is the most amazing Friend. Ask Him to fill you with a hunger and thirst to know Him better, and then be purposeful about your time with Him. For truly heaven is a place where we will spend an eternity getting to know God, and delighting in all that He has created. So think of prayer as investing in a relationship, for our love relationship with Him needs to start here on earth. Now is our time to prepare to be in heaven.
My prayer is that you will work on your relationship with God and learn to walk with Him daily; and that in finding Him, you will be filled with His love and grace.
All scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1896), 131.