(I apologize to any readers who have wondered why I haven't written the last few days. I was at a conference and was unexpectedly busy and without internet access. Thanks for sticking with me.)
Three phrases come to mind that explain what I need to do in prayer: (1) approach His presence; (2) align with His purpose; and (3) appropriate His power.
Approach His Presence: Hebrews 4:16 says, "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Prayer is coming into the throne room of the great King. The Son and the Spirit have gained us access (Romans 5:2; Ephesians 2:18). We "enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise" (Psalm 100:4). We should be conscious of drawing near to Him. James wrote, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (4:2a).
How do you draw near to Someone Who is omnipresent? The distance is in our hearts, not our location. There is a difference in assuming that He is with us and knowing He is with us. Theoretically, we can pray by just starting to talk -- after all, God is always there. But as creatures locked into space/time, we benefit by taking the time to seek His face. Many of the psalms begin with requests for the Lord to hear (4, 5, 17, and so on). If we take His attention for granted, we do so to our detriment.
When we were children, our parents were delighted when we began to talk. Even later on, they would tolerate our interruptions as we would burst in with some request or with some "news" that we felt couldn't wait. But as we matured, we learned that true conversation deserves some respect. We learned how to approach our parents in the right way.
In a book on prayer, I read about a preacher who asked a great evangelist to pray for him. The great man invited the preacher to a private room. The preacher was surprised when the kneeling evangelist was silent for several minutes. Then he sighed deeply, "Oh, Father" and continued in silence for several more minutes. Then the evangelist began to pray in a way that was far beyond anything the preacher had ever experienced before. It was because the evangelist had learned to approach the Lord's presence.
Have you ever had the experience of telling someone something only to turn and see that they had left the room? On the phone, do we start talking before the other person has come on the line? If we have a true personal relationship with God, we need to talk to him when we know we have gotten together.
Let us take time today to enter His presence. We may do so by praise and by confession. Let's spend time before Him that we may grow to be like Him.
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.