I was praying at IHOP yesterday, trying to press in and listen to the Spirit, asking for something to intercede for. I came across this passage in Ecclesiastes 5:1-3:
“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.”
So I was thinking, why do we pray? Obviously, Jesus told us to pray. Jesus gave us examples of how to pray. He also told us to personally pray in secret, not to be seen by others(this doesn’t include corporate, or group, prayer). Simply, prayer is communicating with God. It’s not for show, and it’s not because we’re required to by any religious means. Why do we pray? Because we want to know God. Take a look at this passage:
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.””–Luke 10:38-42
Prayer is not really about the words we say, but more about the heart we bring to the throne of God. God knows what we’re going to say before we even say it. Have you ever had an entirely one-sided conversation? The person you’re talking to doesn’t even give you a chance to speak. I wonder if it’s like that with us and God sometimes. He really wants to tell us something, but our mouths are running a mile a minute, listing every request we can think of. Like Martha, we need to learn to slow down, forget our worries, and sit at the feet of Jesus like Mary did(I don’t know about you, but I can be like Martha sometimes). Because of our love for God, we should want to be with Him. That is the “good portion” of prayer: the chance to be still and know that He is God.
Next time you pray, try something different if you haven’t in a while. After making your requests, be quiet and listen to His voice. I’m sure He has something to say to you.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”–Mark 12:30