Welcome to 30 days of prayer, I’m so glad you’re taking this journey with us. Over the next month, I’m going to encourage you to practice some things that will help take your prayer life to the next level. As you engage in these things, I want to remind you that what we’re after is not some kind of system or rule to obey, but rather experiencing connection with God and in his presence, having our spirit refilled and restored with his light. Let’s get started!
One of the first things for us to consider is how we should approach God. What should our posture be? Now I don’t mean physically, although certain physical positions, such as kneeling, sitting with your hands open on your lap or knees or even standing and looking toward heaven can sometimes help. What I mean by posture is our intent and attitude in coming before the Lord. Are we coming to fulfill an obligation, are we seeking him only because we need something? Or is our heart truly postured to be surrendered to him and receive whatever he has for us, bringing our requests humbly before him in submission to his will?
Now, you may have heard that God is our father and so we can approach him as a good Dad. If you’ve been around church very long you may have even heard someone use the Aramaic word Abba and translate it as “daddy.” We find that word used in Romans 8:15, Mark 14:36 and Galatians 4:6. While the intent here is good, that teaching is, in my opinion, a little off. It’s true that God has adopted us as daughters and sons and he has given us the privilege of calling him Father. The term Abba certainly carries an intimacy beyond our English word Father, but when we consider Jesus example of prayer and the Jewish culture that this term comes from, Daddy simply dosent carry the respect and reverence that is intended in the term Abba.
This becomes more clear when we look at Jesus teaching on prayer. In Matthew 6:5-15 and Luke 11:1-13 Jesus teaches his disciples to begin like this: “Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Of course we don’t talk exactly like that anymore but you can still see the point. There is intimacy with the Father, but there is also reverence. He is after all, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings the God who created and holds the universe together. In Jesus example, he reminds the disciples that their Father is the one who sits enthroned in heaven and his name is Holy. For us, following this model means approaching with an attitude of receiving and requesting not one of demanding. We can expect God to hear us and answer us, but not to be a genie for us and do whatever we want him to. It’s his story and we should be about his direction for our lives in it.
The best example I’ve found of how to begin with this posture comes from John Eldridge. You can read the full prayer that he’s written here or use this as an example:
Heavenly Father, I come to you now to receive from you the grace, mercy, love and life I need this day. I thank you for the new life you’ve given to me and I surrender myself to you to receive that life. I give you all that I am, my spirit, soul and body my heart, mind and will. You are the hero of my story and I belong to you. I long to know you, to be restored and renewed in you and to be filled by you. Would you meet me here and lead this time of prayer?
After asking for renewal and re-surrendering to him, I want to encourage you to just sit and breathe in his presence. Something that I’ve found very helpful is to close my eyes and imagine that as I inhale, I’m breathing in the presence of God and as I exhale I’m surrendering myself to him. I even say to myself, “I receive your presence” as I inhale and “I surrender to you” as I exhale. I’ll often come back to this breathing exercise several times throughout the day as a way to quickly and effectively reconnect and re-surrender to him.
Now, It’s your turn. For the next three days, try John’s daily prayer or the one I’ve written above. You can also write your own with the posture of surrendering and receiving whatever God has for you and letting him lead. Then, practice the breathing prayer throughout the day. Leave a comment and let us know how it’s working for you or if you have a question we’d love to try and answer that as well. I pray that the Lord would meet you in new and astonishing ways and that you would know the hope, joy, peace, love and life that comes from his presence.