God is the Source of all good things! All things are from Him, through Him, and to Him (Rom 11:36). And prayer is how we stay connected to Him throughout our days. He is the One who causes the tree to bear fruit or turn colors; the tree does not try hard to do this. Similarly, when we stay close to God in dependence, He accomplishes things in our lives.One of my greatest desires has been to be aware of God’s presence and to live a prayerful life. This desire was ignited when I was given a copy of the book Practice of the Presence of God my senior year of high school. Brother Lawrence shared a glimpse into his life, revealing what peace and contentedness from a close relationship with God can look like. I wanted that! Years later, I still desire to grow in living out a life of prayer.
“You don’t need self-discipline to pray continuously; you just need to be poor in spirit.”
~A Praying Life, Paul Miller, p. 65
Prayer is dependence. This quotation captures the essence of prayer. In conversation, we bring our true selves to Him. We are with God and depend upon Him. God has been teaching me this. I’ve needed to be honest with Him and see the darkness in my own heart. Times of suffering, change, and awareness that I am not in control have especially opened me up to this. I have no choice (no healthy one!) but to trust Him and stick close to Him!
A number of years ago, the prayer, “Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me,” began to rise in my spirit. For me, “Lord, have mercy” means approximately, “Lord, meet me in my lack,” or “I need You!!” I began to almost breathe it; when I awoke stressed-out in the night, during a dentist appointment, when I fell short, or when I felt weighed down. Feeling my brokenness draws me into prayer. It’s more like breathing than any type of effort.
This rhythm of prayer throughout our days doesn’t devalue the discipline of setting aside time for prayer. Specific prayer times train our heart to turn to God in prayer. There is value in having a time, place, and maybe even a list for prayer. We need to be intentional in our relationships, including our relationship with God. Having an intentional time of prayer can help develop a heart habit of turning to prayer at other times during the day. We want to build practices into our lives that help make space for our hearts to grow! The end goal is that our hearts naturally turn to prayer throughout our days!
Knowing our own internal brokenness (our darkness of heart, our lack, coming up against our limits) makes us aware that we are small. And aware that our incredible, loving, generous God is big! We gain real perspective of who we are and who God is … and cling to Him in dependence and prayer.
In the coming week, let each moment of need and weakness be an invitation to pray!