Is Prayer Spiritual Maturity?
“Does the way you pray measure your experience of the Lord?”
I was recently asked this difficult question and found myself frowning in perplexity.
It made me think of the first time I prayed out loud. I unexpectedly found myself in a group where we were told we would pray in a circle; each person had to pray. I was terrified because I didn’t have a clue how to pray.
To survive the torture of that moment, I did what any sensible person would do. I listened to those praying before me. When it was my turn, I simply copied different phrases I had heard, then timidly said, “Amen.”
To be honest, since that day I have been nervous of praying in public.
Over the last few years, the Lord has challenged me to face my fears instead of running away. So to conquer my fear of praying, He encouraged me to jump into the deep end and began praying – on Facebook Live! Oh, dear!!!
Mothers who love, care, and demonstrate mercy, portray the tender mother heart of God.
What Makes a Prayer Beautiful?
Some people pray beautiful, ornate prayers that easily flow for at least twenty minutes. When I’m in that type of environment, I tense up, fearful of opening my mouth when it’s my turn.
My anxiety levels rise, fearing lest my words seem insignificant and reveal my lack of being a prayer warrior. When possible, during a moment of silence, before they can speak, I jump in and pray, knowing when they open their mouth, there will be nothing left to say. When I am finished, I give a silent sigh of relief.
Have you ever felt your prayers were insignificant?
Having confessed, I must quickly say, I love praying for unreached peoples of the earth. I love joining in prayer with those of a common heart, where I feel relaxed and don’t have to worry if my prayer seems silly or redundant.
But wait a minute, you say. “You never answered the question!”
Because prayer is talking to my Friend, I try to remember I’m not praying to the people in the room. They may pray exquisite prayers, while my prayer is tiny and feeble. That’s okay.
Prayer is not a competition!
God doesn’t look down and say, “Betty prays better than you. Why can’t you be more like her?”
No! The Lord is delighted to hear your voice; He listens with delight when He hears you pray.
Become as a Little Child to Pray
The Lord loves when we approach Him as a child approaches their Daddy.
Do you remember how Jesus strongly rebuked the disciples when they chased the mothers with children away, telling them not to bother Jesus?
Now, this is important!
Jesus established a principle especially relevant for those who struggle with prayer.
The secret to effective prayer is to become as a little child.
“Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mar 10:15 CSB). The Lord didn’t want us to miss this, so it is repeated in Luke 18:17.
Have you listened to a child pray?
They are bold and innocent in their requests. They don’t need fluff or pretty words; they don’t try to convince God to listen.
• The Lord is listening.
• The Lord wants to hear when they speak.
• What they have to say is significant.
• Jesus delights in answering their request.
• The Father of Jesus is a good Daddy.
When my children prayed, I listened.
And so did God! One morning, I had been begging the Lord to make my old green wringer wash machine start back up. My daughter, Natasha bounced into the kitchen, and I asked her to pray with me. At four, she happily chirped, “Jesus, please fix Mommy’s ‘chine.”
To my astonishment, but not hers, the agitator started to churn!
Little children with strong attachment to their Mommy and Daddy don’t think about being worthy. They see their strong Daddy or kind Mommy as their hero, expecting to be received with pleasure, knowing their parents dote on them.
How Much More
The day came when each of my children discovered the wonder of dandelions. They would gather a handful and come running to me with delight. “Look, Mommy!”
With great joy, they presented their flowers (already wilting), held by grubby little hands, expecting me to mirror their delight. It was always a precious moment as they brought me a present of wilting weeds, for I saw the treasure given from their heart to me.
If I, being evil, can find such delight in my children, HOW MUCH MORE does the Heavenly Father – who is good – find delight in you and receive your prayers as a gift from your heart to His?!
The Heavenly Father finds delight in you and receives your prayers as a gift from your heart to His.
- Come to Jesus with your heart concerns.
- Speak, believing He cares about everything that touches your heart.
- But come with humility. Forget about what others might think. Lay down your anxiety or fear you haven’t found the right formula.
- Come humbly as a little child comes to her Daddy. With expectation – believing the Daddy of Jesus is a good Daddy and He loves you.
- Remember true prayer is your spirit communing with the Holy Spirit.
So pray! Do not fear what others may think. Do not let the enemy accuse you of being unworthy.
Your prayer is beautiful to Daddy God. He sees and hears you. And He understands your heart’s desire.
“(T)he knowledge of the Fatherhood of God, the revelation of His infinite Fatherliness in our hearts, the faith in the infinite love that gives us His Son and His Spirit to make us children, is indeed the secret of prayer in spirit and in truth.” Andrew Murray
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