#6 in the Prayer Series by Barbara Epp
The Disciplines of Prayer
Practicing the privilege of prayer
Over this series on prayer, I have attempted to capture and convey the essence of what God has taught me about the amazing dynamic of prayer. Because prayer is essentially a conversation with God, it will reach its pinnacle when we find ourselves in our heavenly home where our faltering attempts to relate to God will be perfected. The glimpses of its potential will become an unending landscape of possibility.
Whenever I begin to pray ‘(converse with God.)’ I am immediately reminded of the disciplines (rules, if you will) that have brought me to the joy of prayer. As my husband and I were traveling on the highway the other day I realized how thankful I am that there are lines on the highway. I didn’t have to wonder if the car next to us would know where to steer. Rules are guidelines leading us to safety and order. Disciplines are pathways to fulfillment, hence the privilege of prayer!
Here are the main disciplines my Father has taught me through His Holy Spirit that cause me to pray effectively. I call them the principles of believing prayer.
Recognition of God’s will.
Contrary to my perception as a young Christian it is possible, even mandatory, to know the will of God. Colossians 1:9 says:
“be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”
“..be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Obedience is required of us in our walk with God and He, as the perfect Father, will be sure to make His will known to His children.
Relinquishment of our will.
Our most treasured possession is our own will. We want our own way instinctively and persistently because of our fallen nature. So, in order to walk with God, we are required to entrust ourselves ‘the control of our lives’ to the Lover of our souls. In Romans 12:1 we read:
“present your bodies a living sacrifice.”.
Responding with faith – in Him.
As we choose to yield to God we are agreeing with Him that He is sovereign and the designer of our walk with Him. Psalm 7-8 leads us in this act.
“Behold I come; in the scroll of the Book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.”
Psalm 139:16 declares
“.. in Your Book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”
Why would we not surrender to such love and care?
With these perspectives prayer becomes an ordered response to God’s active part in our lives. As we consider our loving heavenly Father it becomes an easy, even reasonable sacrifice to give up our wills and trust Him with all our hearts! God only asks that we have faith in Him! As we focus on Him He directs our hearts, our wills and our steps.
When we interact with someone we are very conscious of whom we are talking with and would never consider blindly launching into a litany of our own ideas without consideration. As we embark on prayer we must recognize Who He is before we begin our requests. In fact, as we consider Him our prayers are affected and directed.
Practicing the disciplines of prayer becomes a privileged response to God.
I will close this series with the encouragement of the following scripture:
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27
Love your walk and talk with God!