I remember these words from some of the older preachers I used to hear when I was a child. I pondered, then, what they meant by that. These words came back to mind for a necessary reason so I’ll share some here of the necessity for saying such a thing.
The only prayers The Lord honors are those spoken in earnest, in honesty, in humility, and surrender. So often when we begin a prayer, we are petitioning The Lord for our wants or for our ways. If we never get beyond that, we have not prayed.
Prayer is to bring us into His presence to honor Him and to seek His will. I’m not sure any praying occurs until confession has been made not only of our need but of our wrong. I often ask The Lord to make my heart right. I cannot pray with malice in my heart. I cannot pray when I’m not being fully honest. I cannot pray when I am not in a position of yielding to His rightful authority over all.
It’s HARD to pray until you pray. It’s sometimes a grueling revelation to look inside my own messy heart and see fully my impure thoughts and motives. I cannot do it without experiencing the truth of my own brokenness. We don’t pray to exalt our own name. We pray to exalt His Name, “Hallowed be Thy Name. “HE must increase, but I must decrease.” This prayerfulness is a journey that changes me. It’s about getting to the only place where genuine peace can be found, in pure honesty before an already all-knowing God. Unless we believe in His goodness, I’m not so sure we can ever “pray until we pray.” Scripture tells us “…without faith it is impossible to please [God]: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) How does He reward those who diligently seek Him? With only good gifts; His gifts of peace, of truth, of humility, and of grace. The world fights for our attention and our affections and our allegiance, all of which are owed fully to Him.
Talking with Noah on the drive in to school this morning after he had seen about another terrorist attack in Mali from His Grandmama watching the news, I reminded him of scripture that informs us there is an enemy, the enemy, that comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but there is also One who came to bring life, and life more abundantly. I reminded him to always look to see where abundant life is being offered and there you will find Jesus. May He ever lead and guide us and continually cleanse our hearts so they can be welcoming homes to His Holy Spirit that comforts and keeps us in His loving care…