June 29, 2017

Learning to Pray

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 29, 2017

By Tripp Prince

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

Do you struggle to pray? I find for so many Christians, learning a rhythm of intentional and meaningful prayer is one of their greatest challenges. From the logistics of “when” to pray in the midst of a busy work and family schedule, to the “how” when you do manage to find the time, prayer can be hard. And yet, I wonder if we make it harder than it’s meant to be?

So often we approach prayer like it is a test of our devotion or knowledge. We have to make sure that God sees our sincerity and hears how theologically precise or correct our prayers are. Likewise, it can become so formulaic that helpful order turns into rote obedience; simply check off a box on the daily to-do list.

True Christian prayer is learning to be attentive to God’s presence in our midst. It is learning the relational language of heaven and letting it become the language of our hearts. Prayer is entering into the life of God with our minds and bodies, encountering afresh the love of the Father as he speaks his hope and love over us. And as we do so, we are set free to accept our weaknesses and our limitations.

The beauty of Christian prayer is that we never have to have it all together to be in relationship with God. Prayer isn’t the exclusive privilege of the strong. It is the desperate cry of the weak. And in our weakness, we are neither shamed or rejected. Instead, as Paul reminds us in Romans 8, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.

God’s Spirit lifts us up when we are weak and prays when we don’t know how to pray. His love for us is so deep that he invites us into relationship with himself and sustains us when we are too weak to respond.  He knows the deepest desires of our hearts, and from him nothing is hidden. Yet this knowledge is never used against us or to shame and condemn us, but is instead one of the ways he continues to invite us deeper and deeper into relationship.

Richard Foster, in his classic work Celebration of Discipline, says “In prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God’s thoughts after him: to desire the things he desires, to love the things he loves, to will the things he wills.” Even in our weakness, may this be true of us today. Let us learn to love as God loves and live faithfully in his presence!

 

Prayer

Father, thank you that you love us even in our weakness. Teach us to pray and live in the rhythms of your grace. Amen.

Application

In prayer this week, simply focus on being attentive to God’s presence and his love for you.

Related Reading

Matthew 6:5-15; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2

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God’s Spirit lifts us up when we are weak and prays for us when we don’t know how to pray. #WisdomHunters #learningtopray

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Comments

  1. Scott Burgamy says:

    One morning as i was praying, I kept saying “Amen” and then another need would come to mind and I would say, “Oh, and God I also need to pray for this too” and that happened several times that morning. The Lord then spoke to my heart and said, ” I never intended there to be a period after your Amens, only comma’s.” “Always continue to pray”.

    1. Gwynne says:

      Dear Scott,
      What a great message to all of us: “The Lord spoke to my heart and said, I never intended there to be a period after your Amens, only comma’s. Always continue to pray”. Thank you for sharing that with us!! And how true is that?
      Tripp’s devotional, “Learning to Pray”, was full of reminders that are the clear truths about the blessing of prayer. “True Christian prayer is learning to be attentive to God’s presence in our midst. It is learning the relational language of heaven and letting it become the language of our hearts”. There was just something about that phrase “learning the relational language of heaven and letting it become the language of our hearts” that warmed my heart with the knowledge that we, as believers, have this gift of communication with our Father in heaven. And we don’t have to “prove” anything to Him, just pray our simple words.
      I loved when Tripp wrote “The beauty of Christian prayer is that we never have to have it all together to be in relationship with God”. (Whew, that’s a relief!). He goes on to write “And in our weakness, we are neither shamed or rejected”. Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful gift of communication with you!
      Scott, we are grateful for you and look forward to hearing from you again.
      Blessings,
      Gwynne
      “The Lord is far from the wicked but he hears the prayers of the righteous.” Proverbs 15:29

      “The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven,
      his holy dwelling place.” 2 Chronicles 30:27


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