Before You Pray, Read This First!
Many people come to God in prayer like they are going to the grocery store. They march into the throne room with their grocery carts and grocery lists and start walking up and down the aisles of heaven shouting, “I want this, and I want that, and while you are at it, give me some of this.” And when God asks their name, they say, my first name is Gimme and my last name is More. Gimme More! For them prayer is the way to get things and more things from God to meet their physical and material needs. God is simply a tool. They misunderstand the primary purpose of prayer and for this reason, struggle in their Christian life unnecessarily.
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. And the primary purpose for prayer is to develop intimacy with our Heavenly Father. Contrary to what people think, Jesus did not come primarily to deliver us from hell, or to cleanse us from sin. No, he came chiefly to make it possible for us to enjoy unbroken fellowship with God and for God to enjoy unbroken fellowship with us. And this fellowship is now possible because Jesus shed His blood and has cleansed us from all our sins. That means, the sins we commit no longer cause the Father to withdraw from us. We can approach Him anytime, even if we have sinned, knowing we are forever accepted in the beloved. (I John 1:7)
When we accepted Jesus as Savior, we were born-again and entered a Father-Child relationship with God, and a Groom-Bride relationship with Jesus. But a relationship without fellowship is like marriage without intimacy. When two persons exchange their vows, they legally become husband and wife. They have a formal relationship that offers many possibilities, but the thing that will cause the marriage to come alive and make it fruitful is the quality time they spend with each other. But when they are not spending time with each other alone and with others, even though the marriage still exists legally, neither party is fulfilled or satisfied. Some people try to make up for this lack of fellowship with presents, but presents cannot replace presence.
It is the same with our relationship with God. What God wants most of all from us is presence. God’s love language is time spent with Him, minds set on Him. Isn’t this the lesson Jesus taught Martha in Luke 10:38-42? What we do with Christ is far more important than what we do for Him. Yes, we are to witness and work, but first of all, we are to worship. Yes, we are to go and give, but first of all we are to come and commune.
Now, when we concentrate on the relationship and not the results, an amazing thing happens. We get the relationship and the results! In fact, getting results becomes practically effortless. You see, fellowship is the mother of faith and the producer of fruit.
It is time for us to make the main thing the main thing. 1Cor 1:4-9 tells us we have been called into fellowship with Jesus. That means, we are invited to participate with Jesus in the fellowship He is enjoying with the Father. And in I John, the Apostle says to us, “I am writing these things to you so that you can have fellowship with us, and our fellowship is with the Father and with the Son.”
So, the next time you enter the throne room to talk to your Heavenly Father, don’t bring a grocery list. Bring yourself. If you see this truth, you can start enjoying God, who already knows the things you have need of even before you ask. And He can start enjoying you!
Okay, now that you know this, go ahead–Pray!