Matthew 6: 6-8
As I continue this Wednesday devotional series on Christian meditation (a mixture of deep thought and prayer), I want us to actually think about that prayer component today - communicating with God.
For an area that is discussed so much, it can feel like we still don't understand prayer. Jesus gave us the Lord's Prayer as a template. There are other templates or structures for prayer, such as ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). Templates are offered because we may not know how to pray or what to say. Others recommend that we should just freewheel it and have an ongoing conversation with God as our prayer.
Your tone in prayer might vary depending on how you view God. The conversation will sound different if you speak to him as a sovereign in a throne room, as a friend or family member in your living room, as a father in his den, as a boss in an office, or as a genie in a lamp. Depending on the situation and mood, all of those tones might come into play, at one time or another. (Not that the genie is a good way to view God, but I'm saying that some might treat God that way).
We can be afraid to mess up in prayer, to get it wrong. One of the wisest things I've heard said about prayer comes from author Philip Yancey, who said, "If you're praying, you're doing it right!"
Prayer is a great mystery, yet it is the foundation for a 7-day practical faith. It's essential to communicate to God, and yet God knows what's on your mind before you say it. Jesus says in Matthew 6: 8, "...your Father knows what you need before you ask him."
This is the mystery that I propose for you to meditate upon: the paradox of needing to communicate with the God who already knows your mind and your situation. And He knows your mind because He already resides with you through the Holy Spirit, who intercedes in your prayers with groans too deep for words (Romans 8: 26).
Meditate upon this writing by Harry Emerson Fosdick from his book, The Meaning of Prayer.
Consider then the meaning of God's knowledge of men. When a stranger thinks of China he imagines a vague multitude, with faces that look all alike. When a missionary thinks of China, the vague multitude is shaken loose in one spot, and individuals there stand out, separately known and loved. When God thinks of China, he knows every one of the Chinese by name...We stand, every one, separate in his thought. He lifts us up from the obscurity of our littleness; he picks us out from the multitude of our fellows; he gives to our lives the dignity of his individual care. The Eternal God calls us every one by name. He is not the God of mankind in the mass; he is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob! All greater pray-ers have lived in the power of this individual relationship with God.
All that to say, since you're in an individual relationship with God, your prayer may look different from my prayer. We each possess an individual relationship with God that requires attention, love, gratitude and cultivation to best flourish. Consider that unique relationship in meditation, then tap into it, and your unique prayer should follow.
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