Many things have been said and written about prayer. But this morning, as I laid in my bed, the following points popped into my heart and I thought it’d be good to pen it down as a reminder to myself and as an encouragement to others. Not surprisingly, it comes in the form of the acronym, P.R.A.Y.
PRESENT Yourself Before prayer is petition, it is really a posture of presentation. Admit it. Have you not struggled with finding time or energy to pray? There is always something else that appears more important where you feel your presence or attention is critically needed. That is why the very first aspect of prayer is presentation, the conscious act of disengaging ourselves from the 1,001 things that distract us that we may present ourselves before God. This could mean physically walking to the side of the bed and kneeling down, or simply closing our eyes and tuning out the cares of the world. This posture of presentation enables us to focus on God, acknowledging our great and desperate need for Him.
REST in Him Before you rattle off your prayer list (or your version of God’s to-do list), take a moment to rest in His presence. I guarantee you that this will make a world of difference. Pause for a moment, even if those two or three seconds of quiet might seem like eternity to you. But it’s important as it allows perspective to move from yours to His. Strangely, amidst the anxiety and flurry of your thoughts and concerns, you will experience a peace that surpasses your comprehension. Enjoy the rest. You need it. You may not have said anything yet, but your time of prayer has already begun.
ASK Boldly I hear you say, “Finally.” Yes, go ahead. Ask, petition, question, complain, weep, cry. Table your needs, present your case, ask the toughest of questions. Why don’t we do this first? Once again, posture and perspective. It is one thing to ask and demand like a spoilt brat, fussing and kicking his legs all over the place; and yet totally another to come as a son and a servant who trusts and rests in his Father and Master. The former’s boldness is misplaced whilst the latter’s, rightly positioned and presented.
YIELD to His Will If you have noticed the prayers of the saints and psalmists in the Bible, they always leave room for God to have the last word. Well, the truth is, He has the last word, whether you acknowledge it or not. Prayer is not so much getting our way as it is aligning to His. This may not be what you want to hear, but it just is. However God chooses to answer — whether yes, no or wait — it requires a yielding to His sovereign will. A prayer that closes with this understanding positions the saint for a much deeper work in his life because he is ready to surrender and submit to a situation that may not result in the way he expected. And yet, because he knows that God is in control, he is able to keep on serving faithfully from a position of rested-ness, trusting wholly in the One who holds everything in His hands.
So, the next time you P.R.A.Y., keep these four simple points in mind. May this encourage and enable you to enjoy your times with the Lord. And all who agree say, “AMEN!”