How many times do you go into personal prayer and feel like you’re doing all the work? It may be such a habit that you don’t notice it anymore. Have you ever had moments where God took over and steered the conversation to a completely different direction than you anticipated?
It’s common to subconsciously think of prayer as a one-way street. Prayer is so powerful that God calls us to more than what we’re used to. He yearns to have more with us and I’m sure you yearn for more of Him too. Deeper prayer calls for a humble attitude. Being humble doesn’t mean feeling sorry for yourself or beating yourself down. When you come humbly before God, you recognize His divinity and submit to His authority and superiority.
When we approach God, we must approach Him as He is. We don’t always realize that He has feelings, truth, and insight. He has a plan. He wants to talk to us, not just listen to us. He wants us to pour the deep depths of our hearts to Him and not just say what sounds like a “good prayer.” He wants us to come as we are, but He also wants us to be aware of who He is. In praying, we must allow God to be God. We do this by allowing Him to:
- Guide our prayers: Coming to prayer with a list is great. Sometimes there are certain prayer points that God will put on our hearts to continuously pray for. We see a family member that we know needs our prayers. We struggle financially and need God to be our Provider. Life happens and we have things that come up that we want to take to God in prayer. The danger with this is having a predictable, monotonous prayer life. Having a list shows preparation, but we must also allow room for God to guide us elsewhere. Sometimes He will lead you to put your list aside to pray for someone or something else. In prayer, you can allow space and time for silence. Use half of your prayer time to talk and the other half to listen. You may be surprised at what He says to you.
- Keep you longer than you planned to stay. Once you give God room to talk to you, the next step is to allow Him to now take control of your time together. When He takes over, you are now on His time. Some days He may sit with you in silence. Other days, He may only say a sentence or two. Sometimes He just wants to show you His love and peace and other times, He may pour many instructions on you. Be open to whatever He may be trying to communicate. He won’t be predictable, so allow for His unpredictability.
- Wow you. In allowing for unpredictability, you let God show you something new about Himself. We can never know Him in His fullness here on earth, so it’s pretty exciting to learn something new about Him. It seems that as soon as we get comfortable with God and think that we have Him all figured out, He surprises us and does something we don’t expect. Come to Him expecting something different. Anticipate something new. Have faith that He’ll do something greater around you and through you. He will definitely surprise you.
- Expose you. This one is a bit harder. We know that God knows everything about us. He knows more about us than we know about ourselves and some of those things, we’d probably rather not know. But, in God’s unfailing love, He wants to mold us into the best version of ourselves. In doing so, He will reveal what things need change in our lives. He will shine a light on our flaws. This isn’t to make us feel bad about ourselves, but to make us aware so we can work on making it better, therefore making us better.
- Let you be the answer to your prayers. What would you do if God wanted you to be the witness to the person whose salvation you’re praying for? What if he wanted you to give your own money to pay the bills of that struggling relative? What if He called you to go to the underdeveloped country to build homes for the widows and orphans you’re praying for? What if it required you to leave your family, job, friends, and life to be the answer that you’ve been seeking? God moves through people. When you present a request to God, the prayer doesn’t stop at the request. Deeper prayer requires a part of you to say, “I’m willing to partner with You on this. I invite You in to get involved. What do you want to do?” Deeper prayer calls for you to be available to partner with God on seeing your prayers happen.
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14, NLT)