What draws you to prayer?
Many people are drawn to prayer out of their own personal need. When our lives, or the lives of our loved ones, are affected by health issues, financial issues, or any sort of crisis, the sense of urgency draws us to pray. People who rarely pray will reach upward toward heaven in times of crisis. While there is nothing “wrong” with this kind of praying, for our Lord hears our prayers and cries, there are many other on-ramps to prayer that are rarely explored by the masses. To grow in prayer is to engage in the same on-ramps to prayer that Jesus used. Here are some of Jesus’ on-ramps to prayer that will take us all far beyond the crisis response praying we usually engage in.
On-Ramp #1 – “My lack needs your supply.”
John 17:14-17 NKJV I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (15) I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. (16) They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (17) Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
We need the Word of God, the presence of God, the fellowship of God, and the power of God in order to be sustained in the daily mission of following Christ, and leading others to do the same. To love as He loves requires that we be loved by Him in His presence. We need the supply of the Father! Jesus knew this. He knew the importance of being kept in the Word. It was important to Jesus to pray for their sanctification and to be safe from the plans of the evil one.
On-Ramp #2 – Earth needs heaven’s perspective.
Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV84 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (2) Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (3) Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
When we pray out of our personal crises, we pray from earth’s limited perspective. We want to fix earth instead of being fixated on heaven and praying from heaven’s perspective. When our eyes are fixed on Jesus we can endure our “light and momentary troubles” (2 Cor 4:17). Praying with authority and power over the troubles is far different than praying for the fixing of the troubles. Be fixated on Jesus and His viewpoint from the Throne Room of heaven! Earth needs fixated-pray-ers far more than fixed circumstances.
On-Ramp #3 – Intercession requires Jesus’ eyes, ears and heart
The popular song, “Hosanna” includes this line: “Break my heart for what breaks yours…”
Have you truly pondered the consequences of that prayer if it is uttered with true sincerity, and a true desire to experience its fulfillment? When you and I begin to see the world with the eyes of Jesus, hear the world with the ears of Jesus, listen to the world through the wisdom of Jesus, and engage with the world through the compassion of Jesus, we will likely be leveled in our spirits by what we experience. This experience is the manifestation of true intercession. In the midst of true intercession, we no longer see our own need and focus on the desperate need of others, regions, nations, and the condition of the people of God.
When we focus on our own crises, our vision is cut off from the greater need and intercession is likely impossible. Jesus’ one major prayer of personal crisis ended in these words: “Yet, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) Surrender your crises and pick up new on ramps to prayer!