There are many times when I have wanted to have rich, meaningful time in prayer but didn’t know what to pray. There have also been many times when I knew I should pray but simply didn’t feel like it. In both of these instances there is a need to pray. But not just to quickly mutter whatever words come to mind and be done; that would simply mean I am praying only because I should. Prayer is about God, not about me. The Bible is about God, not about me. Me being a Christian is about God, not about me. Too many times we get in the way of a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Christ. We have this natural ability to read the Bible, pray, and grow as a Christian all because of self. We are motivated by what will help me, make me look better, feel better, be in a better place as a person, and before God. But the reality is that in everyone of these directions, I am the central focus. God is part of the process, but I am the product. Our natural way of thinking and operating is exactly opposite of how it was designed. We were designed by God to be priests in the Garden of Eden that worked and grew the garden, took care of the animals, and lived in close communion with God. In other words, we were meant to be God’s workers, in His garden, taking care of His possessions, while delighting in Him while He also delights in us. Sounds incredibly wonderful. It’s also the reason that Jesus died on the cross, to open up such opportunity again. So that we can learn how to work for the kingdom in this world, for His purposes. Spending time in close communion and prayer, learning more about God by spending time with Him in prayer and reading His word. But anytime that I shift the focus to me, myself, or I instead of His Kingdom, His purpose, and His leading I will come to prayer as a duty instead of a privilege. But when I reflect on what God has done on my behalf, the significance of His person, and the reality of His love for me, how can I do anything but respond in prayers of praise and delight. But because we are focused on self more than we are focused on God we need to find the heart to pray. We need a way to remind us that God is at the center of the gospel, not me. Look at Colossians 3:16-17,
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching, and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Rich, meaningful times of prayer should come from our response to God’s word. It is by dwelling on scripture, receiving its teaching and wisdom that points us back to God. That remind us of what He has done and is doing. It helps us continue to recognize that God is working in far greater ways than we know and that He continues to work in our lives in a very intimate way. It is by dwelling on scripture and what it says about God that we will naturally bust out in genuine praise and thankfulness to God. Perhaps if we keep it at the center of our attention, day after day, night after night we will not get so easily caught up in self but rather have an ability to start operating and thinking about God and His kingdom before thinking about myself.
We all get caught looking to prayer and the Bible as though it is the answer to making our lives better. But prayer is meant to be about me. It is meant to be a place where I, a wicked and lowly sinner can come into the presence of a good and holy God who is perfect in every way. The same God who has continually gone out of His way for all of His people. When I stand before God in prayer, I should come with genuine thankfulness, with praise and worship of His name. The best way for me to do that is to dwell on scripture and to ask questions of that scripture like “What does this tell me about God?” Stop looking for how this passage should affect you and start looking for how this passage further reveals God and His purposes for mankind.
Take some time to read scripture and reflect on the person of God. Dwell/meditate on that passage and praise God for who He is, what He has done, what He is doing. After you have done this, take some time to consider and write down how God is currently working in your life. How has He used the events and people in your life to change and mold you into His image?