For some of us, or perhaps most of us, our place of prayer doesn’t seem so appealing. In fact, we don’t seem drawn to prayer at all. Most of the time, we would rather sit in front of the TV, or play a game, or eat food, anything but pray. But we really shouldn’t be surprised at this, if we haven’t had many experiences with God, and if we haven’t worked on making our prayer times better. To have quality prayer times we really need to work at it!
Here are three things we can work at that will enhance our prayer times:
1. Give thanks. When we give thanks to God we are surrendering ourselves to Him in acknowledgement that He is Lord and God, and that He has made us and has made all things (Ps. 100). Likewise, thanksgiving is simply our recognition and gratefulness for all the things that God has done for us and has given us.
Effective prayer—that is, prayer in the Spirit—is always prayer with thanksgiving. As R. A. Torrey has said, “Thanksgiving is one of the inevitable results of being filled with the Holy Spirit.”
I have found that when I am down and in need of God’s touch, when I go to God in prayer, one of the first things God does for me is to make me thankful. He gives me desires to please Him and to sing songs of thanksgiving. Why? Because He knows that thankfulness is required for true prayer (Phil. 4:6), and He wants me to pray. Thus, the Holy Spirit helps me to pray by making me thankful.
Now if you want to work on your attitude of thanksgiving you must also work on bringing the Holy Spirit more into your life. The two go together. I would say, pray every day to be filled with the Holy Spirit; but also try every moment to be thankful. And you will soon begin to experience more of the beauty of the inner room.
2. Meditate on the Word. Meditating on the Word makes us more aware of God’s presence and tunes us into His thoughts. Says Pierson, “To meditate on God’s words introduces us to the secret chambers of God’s thoughts, and imparts insight into God’s character.”
The more we meditate on the Word the more we see the beauty of Jesus: how wonderful He is, how desirable, how sweet. In Psalms 119:103 David declared, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter that honey to my mouth!” Again in Psalms 119:14 David said, “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.” In Jeremiah 15:16 (a favorite of mine) Jeremiah says, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.”
By our meditation, all our surroundings become beautiful; and we find ourselves incessantly smiling—even in difficult times. Accordingly, by our constant meditation, our inner room of prayer becomes broadened and more beautiful. Everywhere we go we seem to be always full of His peace and joy—because, you see, we are always dwelling with Him in that beautiful inner room.
3. Practice prayer. The beauty of the inner room is most experienced by those who take the time to get to know God by consistent, purposeful prayer. To those He surrounds by His presence, and is with them throughout the day wherever they go. And generally, His presence is fuller and sweeter during those times when the Word is also meditated on.
Also, according to Charles Finney, when a Christian obediently struggles and agonizes in prayer over a lost soul or over any burden God puts on him to pray over, he will find in God, after the burden is lifted, “the sweetest and most heavenly affections…” Hence, God rewards the obedient heart by the blessings of His own sweet presence (Heb. 11:6; Jn. 14:21, 23).
I have found that when prayer is practiced outside, during a walk or while sitting in a favorite spot, the rewards of prayer seem greater. In my next blog I will give you four benefits of such prayer.
This post is an excerpt from Prayer A to Z: A Comprehensive Bible-Based Study of Prayer.