Monday, December 14, 2009

praying the "right" prayer

inspiration: a good dream...finally!

To me, prayer is an important part of worship and an important aspect of our relationship with Christ.

In my life, I always try and take out a few minutes of my day to just connect with God on an emotional level. To praise Him for His blessings (which, on a really hard day, may just be for my health and for His unconditional love). And to open my heart to Him.

Of course, he knows our needs before we even speak them (see Matthew 6:8) and we are also told to "Ask, Seek, Knock" (Matthew 7:7-8 -- "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.")

But there is one thing that I have failed to acknowledge lately in my prayer life: it's about GOD. I know, lately, I have been pretty selfish in my prayers..."God, PLEASE, bless me with (fill in the blank)" or "Do this, Lord" or "Change this person...They're not doing what is right..."

But who am I to pray those sorts of prayers?! I've been pretty lame and judgmental, if I may say so myself...
Even Jesus did not pray for things for himself (See John 17). He prayed that he may glorify His Father and he prayed for us, so that we may serve His Father, too!! Talk about a humbling revelation...I hadn't even acknowledged this particular Scripture when I was planning what I wanted to blog about today. I just knew I needed to talk about how praying a "different" prayer brought peace to me today.

So shifting gears for a moment, here is today's inspiration:

For a few weeks, I've been praying "wrong" prayers. It started with praying for peace. Then it changed to prayers for the Holy Spirit to work in others' lives who I thought needed prayer. Then it changed to prayers for myself. And while these may be valid things to pray for, I prayed for them for the wrong reasons. I prayed these things for my selfish reasons: Because I wanted something to gain. They weren't for reasons of the Kingdom. And as a result, I have been unsettled, restless, and I haven't had particularly good dreams in about two weeks.

Yesterday was a pretty stressful day just due to my emotions getting the best of me after an awkward and surprising situation. And I just let the stresses and emotions get the best of me and for several hours, I focused on the fact that I had felt awkward. But last night, I thought about everything and how it wasn't about me! It was about the Holy Spirit working in others. I had completely ignored the presence of the Holy Spirit!!

So last night, before I went to bed, I just praised God for the work of the Holy Spirit in myself and in others' lives. And I had a wonderful dream last night! And I woke up this morning feeling well-rested and absolutely amazing! I felt this sense of "Nikki, what you prayed last night was how you are supposed to pray every night. See how much better you feel?!"

Now, going back to John 17 for a moment. I read this and was absolutely humbled.
In my Bible, the heading is "Jesus Prays For Himself". Verse 4 reads: "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."

He doesn't say: "Father, grant me my gifts now since I've been a good Son". He instead knows what His purpose was: To glorify His Father!

Later, he prays for all believers.
"May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they will know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." (verses 23-25)

To know that Jesus humbled himself in order to pray for me is absolutely humbling. The Son of Man, who is absolutely perfect and without blemish, loves me enough to pray for me is absolutely amazing!

I know that after last night and after reading this passage today, my prayers will no longer be about me, but about glorifying God.

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