by Jon Walker
Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: "Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people.» (Matthew 11:25 MSG)
What do your prayers reveal about your perceptions of God?
I was thinking about this question the other day while reading a book by the great prayer warrior T. W. Hunt. In Disciple’s Prayer Life, Hunt and co-author Catherine Walker teach that we learn about the attributes of God by analyzing the prayers of people in the Bible.
For instance, when Daniel knelt to pray, he knowingly violated a civil code that required he only pray to a king-proclaimed god. From Daniel’s prayer, we learn that God is the most high God, and there are no other gods above him.
When Cornelius, a Gentile, prayed, seeking salvation from the God of Abraham, we learn from his prayer that there is only one true God.
These, and many other prayers in the Bible, show us the character of God and help us know him more intimately. But then I started thinking: What would someone learn about God if they listened to my prayersí Would they see that he is trustworthy? Would they see that he’s pure and holy?
Or do my prayers suggest a god who is not trustworthy, a god who isn’t concerned about the circumstances of my life, a god who reflects my own weak faith as opposed to a God who is trustworthy, caring, and faithful?
What does this mean?
· Know God – Do your prayers reveal the truth about God, his character as described in Scripture? Or do they reflect a wishful faith that hopes God is listening and willing to answer? Align your prayers with God’s great and unsurpassed character.He is El Shaddai, the all-sufficient One, able to meet any and all of your needs.
· Pray Scripture – Align your prayers with God’s Word. One way to ensure this is to pray sections of Scripture. In other words, take a passage and use it as the basis for a prayer to God, personalizing it to your circumstances and needs.
· Provision List – Thank God that he does answer your prayers. In fact, keep a list that records your prayers and the answers God provides. It will supply consistent evidence of God’s involvement in your life and his constant care for you.