How Should We Pray
"Be still and know that I am God."
God Himself speaks to us about the need to be still and know that He is God. What does it mean to be still? When I think about it, "stillness" is about relaxing, a ready-to-understand word that captures the original meaning.
When you relax, you release the tension, you stop striving. You cease your body from your efforts. You cease your mind and heart form thoughts and feelings of busyness, worries, anxieties, etc.
We need to relax in this very sense so we can begin realizing and acknowledging that He is INDEED God. Yes. We know that He is God, but the verse is talking more than just simply "knowing" that He is God. It means to clearly understand, to relate, to cohabitate with the fact.
Know He is God
"Be still and know that I am God."
Scriptures are filled with verses that teach us about God, who He is, how He is, what delights Him, what saddens Him, how He sometimes moves and decides on matters. In stillness, we can begin to read and think on those Bible truths so we can have more meaningful times of prayer with God.
Prayer is conversing, and it's not just you talking. It's Him revealing Himself and His plans to you. In prayer, you exchange your views and plans with His. You tune in to His mindset and plan and find the wisdom you need to align your life with His purposes for your life.
Know your God, the Shepherd
"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing."
I lack nothing. I shall not want. From the original, we understand the meaning to be: we shall not need, we shall not be lacking or fail, we shall not diminish (be inferior or worthless).
Knowing the fuller meaning of this verse, opens up a deeper understanding of what God does for us as Shepherd.
- He will meet my need. v2
- He will complete me.
- He will make me equal to upcoming tasks. v3
- He will sustain my value, my worth.
Sometimes, it's hard to see His provision, support, enablement, and affirmation. But it's all there or it will "be". The Bible says, He will never withhold any good thing from me. So, I must trust that whatever He delays or withholds, there's always a wise reason and solid purpose behind it.
Knowing that He is God in this way radically changes how we feel when we pray, especially for the difficult and seemingly impossible things. There is assurance that He already knows before I ask. And whatever I fail to mention, He knows and has already answered anyway. I am also filled with peace of mind and heart as I unload what's on my mind, because I know God understands and thinks of me and takes my best interests to heart.
Know your God, the Sovereign One
The Lord'sPrayer begins with us acknowledging God, our Father, the Holy One. It continues with our yielding and desiring His Kingdom be on earth the way it is above. It takes an understanding of the sovereignty of God to pray this intelligently and sincerely.
Sovereign means supreme, unrestricted, unlimited, absolute. God is sovereign. The following verses give further insight:
"I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’"
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Knowing God in this way strengthens hope especially in times of hardship, failure, and injustice. I know He's aware. I know He's working things out. I know He will fight for me. He will do what's best for me. I can trust His plan. I can put confidence in His will in my life and I can pursue it with joy. His will is my will because I know He has seen all the options and He will guide me towards the best path.
We can pray without ever meeting with God. Only when we still ourselves and know the God HE is, can we experience conversing with Him in the most wonderful way.
Will update this post with further thoughts.
Meanwhile, today is Day 5 of my reading on 'how to pray' by Pete Greig via bible.com.
Highlights from the Book
Slowing & Centring: How to be Still before God
- It takes time to quiet and settle ourselves; to clear our busy minds and refocus on who we are praying to. It’s so important we learn to be still.
- Stillness and silence prepare our minds and prime our hearts to pray from a place of greater peace, faith and adoration.
- "I wanted them to acknowledge my presence properly before bombarding me with requests. To look me in the eyes and say very simply, "Welcome home, Daddy!"
- Before we launch into a long list of all the stuff we need, he tells us to pause, to address God affectionately as "Our Father", and respectfully, "hallowed be your name".
- Prayer can easily become a frenetic extension of the manic way I live too much of my life. Distracted and driven, I step into the courts of the King without modulation, without introduction, without slowing my pace or lifting my face to meet his gaze.
- True prayer is not so much something we say, nor is it something we do; it is something we become. It is not transactional but relational. And it begins with an appropriate awareness of the One to whom we come.
photo credit to Tom