Worship-based Prayer

             In his book Transforming Prayer, Daniel Henderson proposes that we develop worship-based prayers rather than needs-based requests:  "Asking is a vital component of our relationship with God. This is true because He has commanded us to seek Him as our ultimate source in all things. He has ordained prayer as the means by which we depend on and trust in Him. He answers our prayers to give us what He knows we need to bring Him glory.

“Yet in today's Western culture, permanently infected with materialism and a consumer mindset, it is sometimes difficult for Christians to ask for things from God without a fundamentally selfish aspiration and a chronic aversion to suffering in any form. We often pray to escape our difficulties rather than embrace discipleship.

“Like anyone, I love it when God answers my prayers in ways that make my life more pleasant or pain-free. Yet I am learning that my deepest needs are met when my heart is most closely aligned with the Word of God, the Son of God, the Spirit of God, and the purposes of God. ... Asking is the doorway, not just to getting our next lunch ticket or luxury item but to discovering the profound joy of a transformed life."

We must search our souls about the things that trigger our prayers. “Amid all our worries about our health, finances, family, job, education, and ministry concerns, are we seeking first His kingdom and not our own?" Jesus' teachings about prayer do not encourage us to create long lists of whatever we want, but promise us basic provision, spiritual empowerment, and guidance for His kingdom purposes.  Therefore we need to allow God's Spirit to lead us in the freedom to pray His heart instead of our ideas. And we must align our attitude and approach with the priorities and patterns of the Scriptures, when we pray about issues and needs. The prayer requests in the Bible are usually shorter, deeper, and fundamentally different than most of our prayer lists. Jesus' prayers were distinguished by intimate expressions of worship, thanksgiving, surrender, and intercession for the faith of others. Every one of Paul's model prayers sprang from expressions of thanksgiving, truths about God, and notes of praise. Most biblical prayers focus on Christ's purposes vs. personal problems.

… A worship-based approach fixes our heart first on the majesty of God, the person of Christ, the purity of His Word--and excites within us an appetite for Him... Our heart is renewed with a longing for His glory.  This is prayer that is “on earth as it is in heaven…”—where worship is the primary activity of saints, angels, and all heavenly creatures.

 

Becky WarnerComment