11.24.20 – Daily Dose of Worship – A study on prayer. Part 10. How to begin?

DEVOTION: “For up until now we have been tackling the whole question in the wrong way and on the wrong level. The very question “Does prayer work?” puts us in the wrong frame of mind from the outset. “Work” as if it were magic or machine, something that functions automatically. Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal contact between embryonic, in complete persons (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person. (Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine.). In it God shows Himself to us. That he answers prayer is corollary, not necessarily the most important one, from that revelation. What He does is learned from what He is.” (pg 10)

Ok. A lot there. A lot…go back and read it again, I had to.

Then C.S. Lewis goes on to ask this question…”Can we believe that God ever really modifies His action in response to the suggestions of men?

Incredible thought…and the answer surely is no. God is God. We are not. Who are we that He would even be mindful of us? Yet…He is. In the way that a Father loves His children. We are God’s children. He hears and listens to all of it. And then answers in His way and in His will.

I love his description of prayer in the above paragraph. “Confession it’s threshold, adoration it’s sanctuary, presence and vision and enjoyment of God it’s bread and wine”. Adoration it’s sanctuary is the line that stands out to me.

I was once told that when we pray, it’s not “appropriate” to dive right into the requests part. Our first step and first action when approaching a Holy God is to recognize His holiness. His goodness. His grace and mercy.

So I started changing the way I prayed to start with some type of “Adoration” as C.S. puts it here. “Father, I adore You”, “Jesus, thank you for your goodness.”

I don’t know if it’s the right way to approach prayer but it certainly makes sense to me. I liken it to when I start a conversation with a friend. I don’t immediately ask for something. I usually begin with a “how are you?” or a “can I help you with something” etc. It’s a courteous and respectful way to have a relationship.

Maybe it should be the same when talking with God.

10 Comments

  1. Margaret K on November 24, 2020 at 6:21 am

    There is a lot here today. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray; the model that we call “The Lord’s Prayer” begins with acknowledging God as Father in heaven, holy (hallowed be thy Name), and asking God that His kingdom come and His Will be done. Then He goes on about our needs (daily bread) and forgiveness, etc..
    Of course in a crisis we can boldly go to the Throne Room and just ask our petition or intercession for someone; but that should not be the normal way we approach God. This is a relationship with our loving Heavenly Father. We should spend time with Him, honor Him, acknowledge who He is and take time to be still in His Presence and let Him talk to us. All of that is prayer also. We shouldn’t come to God just with our prayer list, then go on with our day.

    On another note addressed above; prayer does not change God or His intensions; but if no one prays about a situation, does God sovereignly intervene? There is Scripture that says, “You have not because you ask not”.
    God told Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, then Abraham prayed. He prayed several times asking that if a number of righteous people were found there, that God not destroy the land. With each prayer, God agreed not to destroy them if so many righteous people were found. He got all the way down to if 10 righteous men (people) were found there, God agreed not to destroy the land. what if Abraham had prayed one more time and asked if one righteous man (Lot) was found there???? Maybe then God would not have destroyed Sodom.

    Scripture also says that God will do nothing except He reveal it to His servants the prophets. But what if the “prophet” is not listening? What if the prophet does not pray about it? What if the prophet does not declare it? Will God still do it?
    There is a lot going on in the world that God does not like; what if God is waiting for enough of His people to intercede, to declare what God has said in His Word about the situation, to have faith in God about the situation?

  2. Suzanne on November 24, 2020 at 7:25 am

    What if the world has killed ‘the prophet’?

    • Nela on November 24, 2020 at 10:13 am

      Our Omnipotent God would not allow that person to be killed if it was outside His divine will. If that happens (within His will) He will raise up another…maybe there are many!!
      Never doubt the outcome….God has already won the battleđź’–

  3. Suzanne on November 24, 2020 at 8:24 am

    Psalm 100:4

    Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

    I think a little of both is good. A more “formal” prayer in the morning and at the end of the day, with ongoing conversation in the middle.

    A couple days ago, I wrote about the Lord’s prayer being a model of how to pray taught to us by Jesus.
    https://davepettigrew.net/11-18-20-daily-dose-of-worship-a-study-on-prayer-part-4-ready/

    Carol also mentions the Lord’s prayer here https://davepettigrew.net/11-20-20-daily-dose-of-worship-a-study-on-prayer-part-6-the-conversation/

    Romans 12:12
    12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

    Psalm 145:18
    18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

    Psalm 4:1
    1 Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

    • Dave Pettigrew on November 25, 2020 at 9:36 am

      Incredible verses. So very relevant to all that we’re talking about now. Thanks for posting Suzanne!

  4. Peggy F on November 24, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    How can we not start our prayer to Him, our conversation without thanksgiving, just to thank Him for loving me, us ………….and then the songs well up in our hearts………..and makes its way to our voicebox……….the beauty and majesty of praise to God , of worship…………I’m hearing Maranatha now, ” I stand in awe, so amazed, totally changed by Your Presence , forever………..Every time I look into Your eyes, I see a glimpse of what I always wanted to be, Let me be changed, let me be changed in Your Presence…………isn’t that what it it all about….being changed in His Presence…………..and then there is ” I make my life a prayer to You, I want to do what You want me to………no empty words and no white lies, no token prayers, no compromise……………… sorry guys, I guess I always go off in my own little mental box…………….love you guys, great ideas and thoughts abound .

  5. Sherri H on November 24, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    amen to all above

  6. Jonathan B on November 24, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    First give thanks for what you are given. Then reach into your heart and talk to God. He is always listening. Be still and know he is with us. Just release your heart and have a conversation with him. That is my prayer time. Yes, sometimes it’s 30 sec but it’s my time with God and other times I will be silent and listen to God and his guidance for me. Amen

  7. Margaret M on November 25, 2020 at 6:45 am

    I find entering his gates with Thanksgiving and praise it is just like entering his presence or his gates. As it says in the psalm 100 . The scripture says he inhabitants the praises of his people so I want to be inhabitant by him. Have him inhabitant in my home and life. So start pray by thanking him for what he has done put us in a better respectful manner of what to ask him or request his help for.

    • Dave Pettigrew on November 25, 2020 at 9:35 am

      Margaret, thanks. One of my favorite verses. Taught it to my kids years ago. So good. Thanks for sharing!

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