"At that day ye shall ask in my name". ~ Jn 16:26
We are too much given to thinking of the cross as something we have to get through; we get through it only in order to get into it. The Cross stands for only one thing for us - a complete and absolute identification with the Lord Jesus Christ, and there is nothing in which this identification is realized more than in prayer.
"Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask of him". Then why ask? The idea of prayer is not in order to get answers from God; prayer is perfect and complete oneness with God. If we pray because we want answers, we will get huffed with God. The answers come every time, but not always in the way we expect, and our spiritual huff shows a refusal to identify ourselves with Our Lord in prayer. We are not here to prove God answers prayer; we are here to be living monuments of God's grace.
"I say not that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you". Have you reached such an intimacy with God that the Lord Jesus Christ's life of prayer is the only explanation of your life of prayer? Has our Lord's vicarious life become your vital life? "At that day" you will be so identified with Jesus that there will be no distinction.
When prayer seems to be unanswered, beware of trying to fix the blame on someone else. That is always a snare of Satan. You will find there is a reason which is a deep instruction to you, not to anyone else. (From "My Utmost For His Highest", Oswald Chambers).
This is powerful. We spend most of our prayer time telling God how to answer our prayers, as if he needed our advice on how to do anything. When we don't see anything happenening the way we expect or want it to, then we start thinking well God just isn't answering my prayer.
We don't stop to think about God seeing all our tomorrows clear into eternity, and what the results could be for us if he answered our prayers our way instead of his. We have such an instant now attitude, because many times we need release right then, that we fail to see any other way that our prayer could have already been answered.
We are told just to ask, not to dictate. If God say's no, he knows exactly what he is doing, if he say's not right now, he knows the exact timing. As this article say's he knows our needs before we even ask, and most times is already working in the background to bring into existence the best solution for us.
Do we trust him, do we lean totally on him, do we believe that he listen's to our prayers?
The best way to start a prayer is to start just adoring and praising him no matter how urgent our request is. Get ourselves clean before we try to enter the holy of holies to come into his presence.
Be anxioius for nothing but by prayer and supplication, with Thanksgiving let our request be made known to God, and the peace of God which passeth all understanding will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Do we really end our prayers with "Nevertheless not my will but thine be done"?
A thankful heart doeth good like a medicine. When we pray for anything, and when that prayer is answered, what is the first thing we say or do? Do we immediately give thanks to God, or do you do it when you get time or think about it?
We cannot put God in the background somewhere in our daily activities and pull him out when we so choose, or when we get ourselves in a tight spot. We also can't just throw up some little short sentences to him thinking we have prayerd, even though throughout the day those short throw up prayers are wonderful, it's not the same thing as taking the time to get still before God, and giving him our undivided attention, so that he can speak to us.
It's in that speaking to us in our quiet time that he can guide us and keep us out of most of the messes we get ourselves into. We would have far more less urgencies. The urgencies come because we are trying to live our life the way we think, because we usually do and act upon what we are thinking, and it's nearly always spontaneous, actually without much thought being put into it at all. I call it thinking, feeling and running with our emotions, rather then praying, obeying, and walking in the Spirit of God. Then we wonder why so many things go wrong? All we have to do most times is look within ourselves, because it will never be God's fault.
This is a very thought provoking post. Thank you Merc.