Sometimes when I’m talking with another believer, I’ll mention a thing that’s bugging me—an assignment, a concern looming in the future, a relationship that I wish were better. The conversation goes something like this:
Me: “I’ve been losing sleep over this project. I hope everything turns out all right.”
Friend: “Yeah, projects like that take lots of prayer.”
Me (lowering my eyes): “Uh, yeah, right. Lots of prayer.”
Of course I don’t admit how lame my prayer life is, that I hadn’t yet thought of praying rather than worrying.
I want to live more like I have a real ongoing relationship with a Father who’s strong and who loves me. I want to pray like that.
Relating to God in Prayer
Talking with Ethan Jasso in a podcast on prayer, Vic Black says that over the years he’s learned to see prayer as relational. For him prayer became less a thing to do, less a list to pray through, and more a time of connecting with God in their relationship.
As he disciples people in their faith, Vic says, he’s praying for them. He talks with Ethan about partnering with God in what the Father is already doing in people’s lives. Ethan adds that when he’s helping someone grow in the faith, he wants to ask the Lord, “God, what do You want to do?”
Teach Us to Pray
In Luke 11, after Jesus prayed His disciples requested, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:2). From Jesus’ response we get the Lord’s prayer, the parable of a midnight request for bread, and a rhetorical question about fathers, fish, and snakes (Luke 11:1-13). We also learn about part of what Vic calls graduate-level prayer:
“’And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9-10 NLT).
As our relationship with God in prayer and His Word grows, we will want to seek His will even more. I not only want to pray—I want to remember to keep on relating to God, seeking Him and His will, knocking where I’m convinced He want me to keep on knocking.
While Jesus taught us to reverence God (“Father, hallowed be your name”), that doesn’t mean that we should be unemotional in prayer. When we have weighty problems, such as praying for people with eternal souls, God isn’t put off by hearing us voice our intensity.
Vic points out that in prayer we’re joining the battle against spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places. Praying against opposition in the heavenly realms, Vic says, “is not a nice, polite thing.” When invoking God’s authority over issues in the unseen world, we engage with Him in what He’s doing: making His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
I want that—His Kingdom on earth and in me. Lord, teach me to pray.