DEVELOPING INTIMACY WITH CHRIST: ENCOURAGEMENTS TO PRAYER
"The Church of Christ and the spiritual life of thousands of its members suffer form root disease--the neglect of secret communion with God. It is the lack of secret prayer, the neglect of the maintenance of a hidden life "rooted and grounded in love" (Eph. 3:17), that explains the inability of the Christen life to resist the world and its failure to produce fruit abundantly. Nothing can change this except the restoration of the inner chamber in the life of the believer. As Christians learn to daily sink their roots deeper into Christ and to make secret personal fellowship with God their main priority, true godliness will flourish. "If the root is holy, so are the branches" (Rom. 11:16). If the morning hour is made holy to the Lord, the day with its duties will also be holy. If the root is healthy, the branches will be, too." Andrew Murray, Daily Experience with God
"Prayer consists in turning the mind to God...When you pray gather up your whole self, enter with your Beloved into the chamber of your heart, and there remain alone with Him, forgetting all exterior concerns; and so rise aloft with all your love and all your mind, your affections, your desires, and devotion...until you enter into the place of the wonderful tabernacle, even the house of God. There your heart will be delighted at the sight of your Beloved, and you will taste and see how good the Lord is, and how great is His goodness.” St. Bonaventure
I'm submitting this as an ecouragement to prayer. What I have written here are "phases" of prayer that can take you deeper into the heart of our Beloved Jesus. Perhaps, before settling down to journal scripture, you may want to go through some of these in order to quiet your heart and mind to hear more fully from HIM. Sometimes I use music as well before praying. John Michael Talbot's music is excellent for bringing us into HIS presence. Also, my friend and brother Daniel Markoya has an album called "Lord, Make Me an Instrument." You can go to Daniel's website and there are free downloads, and there you can purchase this album as well.
You might also want to set aside a special place for your prayer chamber, in a room where you won't be disturbed. Light a candle. Play some music. Set some flowers. This is your time with the KING. HE is your honored guest. Consider making this appointment with HIM your utmost priority for the day.
Anyway, here are some encouragements in prayer that I hope you will find useful.
"You have said, Seek you My face. My heart says to You, Your face, Lord, will I seek...Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage, and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait and hope for and expect the Lord. Psalms 27:8,14
SO MUCH OF OUR PRAYER LIVES are filled with requests for this, that, and the other thing. Dallas Willard has made the comment that we have turned God into our "cosmic Bell Hop." But really, everything has already been given to us in Jesus Christ: "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes and Amen, to the glory of God by us." II Cor. 1:20. and "In Him, God has given us all things that pertain to life and Godliness." II Pet. 1:3-4 When God gave us His only begotten Son, know beloved that He gave us everything He had to give, in Him, by Him, and for Him.
With that in mind, here are some "phases of prayer" that I hope you can use from time to time to just "be with Him" because He is altogether wonderfu! Consider "journaling" your prayers to Him. Let Him speak not only to you but through you. If our Lord gives a portion of Himself to you, remember dear believer, that portion is for the body of Christ. Share it with us.
PHASES OF PRAYER
PRAYER OF REST
My intimate Savior, I do not want to come to You cluttered with competing thoughts, desires, and emotions. I ask you to harness my untamed thoughts and desires, still the pounding of my emotions, and conform my will to Yours, so that my heart, soul, mind and strength may rest whole and complete in you alone.
Pause to relax and rest in His presence. Ask God to give you stillness so that you may be receptive to His still-small voice.
PRAYER OF PRESENCE
O Lord, I open myself now to a deep abiding awareness of your indwelling presence. You dwell at the center of my being in hidden splendor, glory, and wonder. My heart is Your dwelling place. Give me eyes to see You and ears to hear You in Your intimate nearness.
Sanctify the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord in your heart. As He abides in you, abide now in Him. Pause in listening, internal adoration. Then express your heart-filled gratitude to an indwelling Savior.
PRAYER OF SURRENDER
Holy Spirit, I surrender all that I am to You. I no longer live, but You live in me. I hand back to You all that I am, all that I possess, all that I do. Take and do with me what You will. Bring my every thought and action captive to Your will. To you, my Indwelling Counselor, I surrender myself, absolutely, entirely, without reservation now and forever.
What do you need to let go of? What are you clinging to other than God? Pause to allow the Spirit to point out anything in your life that may be stifling or grieving His Spirit and hindering your walk with Him. Offer your own expression of surrender and repentence.
PRAYER OF RECEIVING
Wondrous Jesus, come to me now as the good Samaritan. I am as one laying on the side of the road, beaten, wounded by robbers. Pick me up I pray, anoint me with the oil of Your joy, heal my wounds, enter my loneliness and place me in Your sheltering arms where I can rest in Your comfort.
Express in your own way your hunger and thirst for His healing presence.
PRAYER OF ADORATION
MY EVERLASTING FATHER, you are my Mighty God, the Lord my Righteousness, my Maker, the Rock of my Salvation, my Fortress, my Hiding Place, my Glory and the Lifter of My Head, my Restorer, my Sure Foundation, my Strong Tower, my Shadow in a Scorching Land.
Pause for a moment as you linger in the Father’s presence. Feel free to express your love to Him.
MY HOLY JESUS, You are Chief Among Ten-Thousand To My Soul, my Rose of Sharon, my Way, my Truth, my Life, my Strength and my Song, my Prince of Peace, my Tender Shepherd, my Everlasting Savior, my Hope, my Righteous Branch, my Dayspring From on High, my King Over All The Earth, my Bright and Morning Star, the Crucified and Risen One, even the Holy One of God.
Pause for a moment as you linger in the Son’s presence. Feel free to express your love to Him.
MY DIVINE SPIRIT, you are my Counselor and Teacher, my Ointment Poured Forth, my Early-Morning Manna, my Fountain of Water in a Dry Place, my Sanctuary, my Crown of Glory, my Diadem of Beauty, my Portion, my Resting Place, my Physician, my Immanuel, my Purifier, my Beloved, my Pouch of Myrrh Within My Heart, the Joy of My Salvation.
Pause for a moment as you linger in the Spirit’s presence. Feel free to express your love to Him.
The Lord earnestly waits--expectant, looking and longing--to be gracious to you, and therefore He lifts Himself up that He may have mercy on you and show lovingkindness to you; for the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed, happy, fortunate, to be envied are all those who earnestly wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him, for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship. Psalms 30:18 Amplified.
Because Christ is ours, we have His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and even His matchless, unbroken companionship with the Father.
Praise Him on the wings of eternal gratitude for all that is yours in Christ Jesus. You are rich beyond your wildest dreams with treasure that moth and rust can never disfigure, and that no thief can ever break through and steal. It is an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. Mat.6:20/I Pet.1:4