Praying Intentionally

Read This: “O Lord, give me the words! Then my mouth will praise you. Certainly you do not want a sacrifice, or else I would offer it; you do not desire a burnt sacrifice. The sacrifices God desires are a humble spirit - O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject.” Psalm 51:15-17

Think: Prayer is one of the most vital aspects of our relationship with God. As sons and daughters of the King, it’s our awesome privilege to be able to enter his throne room and drink from the Spirit of the living God. It’s in our times of prayer that we draw near to God to worship, confess, rest, and refresh.

As simple and beautiful as that sounds, so often we turn prayer into something that’s more about us than it is about God. It’s a list of what we need him to do. It’s speaking because we like to talk. It’s a show so the people in our Bible study or small group will know we have an authentic relationship with God. And sometimes it’s a prayer just to check it off the daily to-do list. But any one of those approaches falls tragically short of the power and potential of prayer.

As our good and loving Father, God wants a relationship with us. He wants us to come to him whether it’s been a good day or a bad day, to talk with him about things on our hearts. We need to confess our sins, seek forgiveness, and be healed. He wants us to acknowledge him as our provider and our friend, without ever forgetting he’s also our King. He has so many good things in store for us, but the promises of peace, comfort, joy, and wisdom can’t be fulfilled outside of a daily walk with God.

Most of us would consider it an honor to speak to one of the world’s presidents or prime ministers, whether or not we agree with their politics. And yet, we take for granted that we can enter God’s throne room at any given time. Jeremiah 29:12 says, “You will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Let’s not only pray more often, but let’s pray more intentionally.

Ask: How often do you really pray—more than a one liner? What keeps you from praying more often? What are some practical ways to practice more discipline in that area?

Pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:9-13).

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