This article begins a four-part series on living a lifestyle of prayer. This series is for anyone who wants to grow in prayer; however, if you are new to prayer/following Christ and want to start with more general information about beginning a life of prayer, first read this.
Before we venture into the practicals of a lifestyle of prayer, I want to share regarding the posture of our hearts. When we approach God, we must believe the truth about Him in our hearts. Otherwise, we will lack motivation. Likewise, we may find ourselves fighting lies about the Lord as we seek to grow in friendship with Him.
The following are three keys to posturing our hearts before God in prayer.
1. We must believe the truth that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Knowing this truth about God’s heart is essential to the posture of our hearts in a lifestyle of prayer. Hebrews 11:6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would come near to Him must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
If we do not believe who God says He is, we will not desire to spend time with Him. He is a Father who is good and trustworthy. We must believe He truly cares about us in every way. We must hold to the truth of His faithfulness to reward those who seek close relationship with Him.
As we spend time with God–whether in worship, prayer, Bible reading or another spiritual disciple–we are sowing to His Spirit. His Word says when we sow, we will reap. As we sow to His Spirit we can believe His promise that we will reap the rewards given through His life-giving Spirit (Galatians 6:8).
And finally, Jesus says answers will come as you ask; as you seek, you will find and discover more; and as you knock, He promises to open to you (Matthew 7:7).
2. We must believe the truth in how God feels about us.
Whether we feel it or not, the Lord delights in being with us. Our “yes” to be His brings joy to His heart, even when we struggle with distractions or sin as we walk it out. He sees how we get back up again to re-focus ourselves on Him, He is happy about it! He values every “yes” to pursue Him.
He is gracious to us in our weakness as we grow in Christ. Spiritual immaturity is far different than intentional, rebellious living or practicing deliberate habitual sin. The pure in heart are not perfect Christians, but those who want to walk before Him with clean hearts, who run to Him in contrite repentance when they fall.
Father God promises you in Jeremiah 29:13, “you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all of your heart.” Do not give up even when you feel you’ve failed for the day in your time with Him. Keep pressing in to know Him with all of your heart. He is committed to help you cultivate your relationship with Him as your Father, Counselor, Teacher, Guide and Friend.
3. We must cultivate a heart that responds rightly before the Lord.
Having a heart that is responsive to God means we rightly view ourselves as being “poor in spirit“ (Matthew 5:3). We must remember God is our Source in all things. Our hearts must be open to receive from God and hear what He might say. We want to have soft, tender hearts versus hard hearts that are stubborn and refusing to change, or thinking we already know the answers.
When Jesus spoke of the poor in spirit, He described those who knew they were nothing without Him. One who is poor in spirit knows they have needs only He can supply. They know that though they may have some ideas about a situation, God Himself may have different, better ideas. They live the truth of Isaiah 55:8:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.”
One who is poor in spirit has a right understanding of themselves in connection to God, walking out life by the words of Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” They seek diligently to have the mind and heart of God formed in them. They have come to know the flesh profits nothing, whereas God’s words are Spirit and life (John 6:63).
The posture of our hearts must be one of believing in the truth of who God is and how He feels toward us. We must cultivate a humble heart before Him, relying firstly on His Spirit and His Word instead of our own agendas, opinions or past experiences. These keys will help you posture your heart rightly before God as you seek to live a lifestyle of prayer.
Next: Read Part 2 of this series.