HOW TO PRAY - Psalm 37:4
Updated: Oct 21, 2020
“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
What are some of the things that you really love doing? Obviously most of them have to be indoors at the moment! A Saturday night in, with pizza and a good movie? Online gaming with your friends? How about PE with Joe at 9am?? I almost feel like bursting into song “These are a few of my favourite things!” Each of us has at least one thing we enjoy doing above everything else. Those of us who are particularly creative might really love to find somewhere quiet to read a book, paint on canvas, to write, or play a musical instrument. It’s in these moments, we can just get lost in what we’re doing, as the hours go by like minutes.
The words we read today tell us that there is great joy and pleasure to be discovered in connecting with God; “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” If you think of it, delighting is the opposite of fretting. Rather than getting stressed, it’s an enjoyable encounter that thrills the heart. Has that been your experience of talking to God? I’m sure you’re used to hearing the “hands together and eyes closed,” type of prayer with a list of things you’re supposed to say. That can come across as pretty uninspiring. When this becomes a person’s usual experience, they can be forgiven for thinking that communicating with God, is like a mindless chore to do, such as brushing their teeth. Let me tell you now, this not prayer as it was meant to be! That’s a religious imitation of the real thing, where all the power has been removed!
Delighting in God is as important in a relationship as talking is. It’s making a real connection with our Creator, heart to heart.
So you are released to freely pour your heart out to Him, when you’re upset. Alternatively you can just lay on the floor in silence and invite God into your space. Maybe you're a lively person and want to play some worship music and jump around? If it’s done as a pure offering of yourself to God, where He is the focus, it’s prayer and can lead to delighting in Him. Why not open up a beautiful Bible verse and think deeply about what it tells you about God? Then tell Him what you’ve discovered! Ask God to come close, to help your mind process your thoughts about Him. God is Spirit; and because He is Spirit, He enables you to communicate to Him in many different ways. You can write to Him, and like an email, He will see it immediately. You can ask Him to speak to you in picture language and then draw something devoted to Him. Come to God with an expectation that He is in the room and wants to meet with you in a meaningful way. I tell you, like those favourite things that you love to do, the time will fly by!
God wants you to have a gift that will delight your heart. God offers Himself as a real gift for you to discover. Praying can be a bit like an Easter egg hunt. At times it will be easy to find joy as you connect with God. Other times the search will take some effort to break through. There will be days when you feel you aren’t discovering God immediately, but if you don’t give up, you will find Him. It might be that you’ve lapsed into religious ways, into a formula of doing what worked last week. Try one of the other ways; and if talking is getting in the way, just be with God without using words. Above all else, expect God to be there with you. He has given you this gift of an encounter with Him. He wants to share this time with you. Go by the clock if necessary and set 20 minutes or half an hour as your time with Jesus. Read something from the Bible that tells you more about Him. See what unfolds in your mind as you read. God the Holy Spirit will be with you helping you to see what Jesus and Father God are like (John 14:26-27).
Lord Jesus. I thank You that You want me to enjoy being in Your presence. So I invite You to come close now. Please help me to pray, and show me more of who You are; just as You promised, I believe that that all who ask will receive from You. I want to know You more! Let it be so!
Paul Martin is the author of the Inspire "busy" range of books that help lead young people into a deeper relationship with God through Bible study and prayer. His 40 day devotional books are an enjoyable read for teenagers and are available to purchase on Amazon. They also include space for journalling and response to God in prayer.
Picture for blog by: Bantersnaps - Unsplash