Every Christian knows they’re supposed to pray but few actually take the time to do it. For many it’s become one of those things in the back of our head that we always feel guilty about but we never know how to overcome. While I think there are many reasons why Christians don’t pray, I think most of them can be narrowed down to a few reasons: pride, an incorrect view of God’s sovereignty, believing in lies concerning God’s nature, not understanding the power of prayer, & not having a prayer list being some of the big ones.
It’s funny how after being at a house of prayer for years, I realize how much more I don’t know how to pray than I thought I did. But by God’s grace I think I have grown in it & understand it a bit better. In my experience one of the best ways to overcome prayerlessness has simply been reading books & listening to messages by men & women who had/have a prayer life. A few books I’ve found extremely helpful are:
- “With Christ in the School of Prayer” – Andrew Murray
- “Why Revival Tarries” – Leonard Ravenhill
- “The way of the heart” – Henri Nouwen
- “Charles Finney” – Helen Wessel
- “The Intercessor” – Norman Grub
- “Deep conversion/deep prayer” – Thomas Dubay.
In Luke 11, when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, the first thing He said was “When you pray, say: ‘Our Father in heaven’”. That was the context Jesus was teaching us to pray in: our Father in heaven. That should be the primary thing on our mind when we’re speaking to God. Our minds need a focal point during prayer or else we’ll get distracted. The Bible tells us repeatedly in different ways to set our minds on things above and that principle comes in vary handy when we’re praying.
I close my eyes & picture the scene from Revelation 4. The throne room of God is the most important place in the universe. From this sanctuary God sovereignly rules His creation.
One important thing to know when we look at this chapter is that it’s a real, physical place. It may not sound like it, but if we have a wrong view of heaven our prayer life will suffer because of it. Most everyone has some sort of view of heaven. Most have not taken the time to clarify that view. The New Jerusalem (i.e. heaven) is a real location in creation. Angels come & go from it as they minister to the saints on earth. Jesus is there right now with a physical body that can touch, taste, see, & hear. And it’s coming down, back to the earth when Jesus returns (Revelation 21-22). One thing is for sure: we will not be bored, floating around on clouds & playing harps perpetually!
The throne room is the highest place in heaven – the temple of God. When we pray our prayers literally arise in this sanctuary before Him as a physical substance the Bible calls incense (Rev 5:8, 8:3-5). That incense is powerful. It moves God’s heart & changes His mind concerning events that happen on earth. Our prayers don’t just go out into the air. They ascend all the way to God’s throne & change history. That’s encouraging.
I think we’ll pray much differently when we remember that in the spirit, we’re before God’s throne. We’re not praying to God from far away. We’re praying before Him. The Bible says that when we’re born again we are “seated with Christ in the heavenly places” (Eph 2:6). Our spirits are given access to the heavenly throne room we see in Revelation 4. We can come before God whenever we want. What an unthinkable privilege! We get to come before the most powerful Person in the universe and talk to Him.
That’s the picture we’re meant to have in our minds when we pray. We stand before our Father in the heavenly temple & talk to Him. Prayer is personal & God is a real Person who we can talk to about anything & everything.
In the Prayer Room these last weeks I’ve found it much easier to pray from my heart & to be undistracted when I close my eyes & picture myself before the Father on His throne. I find myself being more real. When I go through my prayer list it’s much more alive. Prayer is based on a locality & that location is God’s temple in the New Jerusalem. If you stick with it, I think this might help you too.