Approaching His presence is the most important part of prayer. After all, our real need in prayer is the Lord Himself. We don't need things; we need Him. He doesn't just give us wisdom or courage; He gives us Himself to be wisdom and courage within us.
Being in His presence should lead to a second phase of prayer: aligning with His purpose.
Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God reminded us that God is always at work and is always inviting us to join Him. We experience the joy of seeing God's glory manifested in our reality when we adjust our lives to God's will. The story of the Bible is not what great men did for God but what a great God did through men who were willing to adjust their lives to His plans.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, His model prayer highlighted the importance of alignment. Approaching God's presence first ("Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name"), disciples then commit themselves to His purposes ("Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven"). Only after those first two steps had been taken were personal petitions to be presented for physical needs, social/relational needs, and spiritual needs.
If we align our lives with His purposes, it is possible that presenting our specific needs will be unnecessary. "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4). "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [the necessities of life] shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). Sometimes God may require us to ask for specific things in order to manifest His glory and increase our faith (thus the truth "you have not because you ask not" James 4:3). But generally speaking, His provision is always there for those who follow His vision.
God is not a cosmic vending machine. He does not exist to meet our needs or grant our requests. We exist to serve Him. Out of His grace, He showers us with many blessings, but we must never forget who is servant and Who is Master. As David Platt says, we were created to enjoy His grace and extend His glory.
After approaching God's presence in prayer today, let's submit our wills to His will. Let us pray that His purposes will be fulfilled and the whole earth will be full of His glory (Habakkuk 2:14).
The Purpose of This Blog
In response to the challenge by the Southern Baptist Convention that churches take on the task to share the gospel with unengaged unreached people groups, the missions team of Harmony Pittsburg Baptist Association felt the need for a way to focus prayer on the task. This blog is intended to facilitate prayer for those contemplating their role in fulfilling the Great Commission. This on-line prayer guide may prove useful to those exploring a call to missions involvement as well as to those who have sensed a call to pray for those who will go to the front lines.