The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Why We Pray"
Part 1 - His Delight
Many prayers grace the epistles of the Apostle Paul, communications with God that include praise, thanksgiving, request, intercession, and affirmation of glories in the Lord Jesus Christ already provided by our Heavenly Father, and also the promise of glories to come.
Paul's first prayer included in the Biblical narrative offers sublime insight into the the very heart and nature of fellowship with God.
"First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established, that is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me" (Romans 1:8-12).
Paul had not been able to visit his brethren in Rome at the time he wrote his letter to them (Romans 15:20-24). He greatly desired to see them, however, and prayed accordingly. Certainly, this speaks to the love of God in believers that leads us to desire each other's fellowship in Christ. However, Paul's yearning speaks to an even greater reality, namely, our need and desire for communion with our Heavenly Father, and even more, His great desire - His delight - for fellowship with us.
"The prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs 15:8).
Whatever prayer means to us, it means more to God. Our voices are sweet to Him, and our hearts bless Him when we come to Him in love, praise, thanksgiving, intercession, and request (Song of Solomon 2:14). This truth constitutes a wonder beyond all imagining. It also provides the first reason we must pray, namely, to please God in loving relationship and fellowship. Indeed, we must be God-centered in our praying, meaning we first commune with Him not for what prayer does for us, but for what it does in Him. The others-centered love of Christ in believers' hearts leads us accordingly, as does the Word of God: "Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more" (I Thessalonians 4:1).
Our spiritual enemies find no qualms in tempting us by holy things. Satan tempted the Lord Jesus Himself with the very Word of God (distorted and misapplied, of course - Matthew 4:1-11). Thus, the devil and his minions challenge us to self-centeredness rather than God and others-centeredness in our praying. This particularly involves our motivation for prayer. "Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your own lusts" (James 2:3). Yes, why we pray is as important, and perhaps even more important, than what we pray.
Nothing will more properly motivate genuine prayer than the realization that, like Paul's desire to be with his Roman brethren, God longs to see us. That is, He loves the fellowship of our hearts to the degree of delight. Let us spend little thought and time seeking to understand the wonder of such glory. Let us spend much time and thought in seeking to believe the truth of it. And let us join the Psalmist, who knew that the heart of God finds joy in the heart of human beings as we respond to His Spirit's moving to draw us near to our Father…
"He shall hear my voice."
"The LORD taketh pleasure in His people."
Weekly Memory Verse
By Him all things consist.