A lot of the time we enter into a new year having decided to make certain changes and we base our prayer life around the lists we make. We start with our wants, our needs and at the end thank God for listening and for being faithful – not in regards to His character but for faithfully ticking the items on our list.
I was past that this year, I’ve come to a confident realisation that God is an all knowing God. You cannot give instructions to the Creator. Now while that may seem obvious to some, we as humans can be very stubborn. It can take a series of events and observations for this truth to sink into ones minds. Even then, you can acknowledge a certain truth but it has no effect until you accept it for what it is.
In my case, that particular truth was that God knows what He made, why He did so and for what purpose. So I focused my prayer on thanking Him for who He is; what He has done, does and will continue to do. A mouthful I know but He already knows what I need so my focus wasn’t on telling him; but simply thanking Him.
Doing this makes such a difference.
Honestly when your approach is not a ready prepared list with a marker pen in hand to tick them off - He’ll surprise you in ways unimaginable. Think of it like this, we all have had that one friend who only gets in touch when they need something - it’s whack and if you’re wise you cut that person off very quickly. But we do this with God all too often. And He’s not the kinda ‘guy’ you would want to be cut off from.
My encouragement when it comes to priorities - be intentional. Be intentional with God the same way you are intentional with eating food everyday and turning up to work on time. We all enjoy feeling full and seeing those numbers on pay day. So why not do the same for the one who gave up His Sons own life so you could keep and experience yours the way He originally intended.
Make His word yours. Instead of browsing - actually read. Not to mention marking out days to fast on your own. Fasting is simply away to allow your spirit to focus more on God without the distractions that food and technology for example can bring. I know - the food babies are nice but you can’t be pregnant all year round; and you phone has to charge at some point right?
Being more focused in prayer. Ever have a friend who repeats the same stories to you, never actually thinking of the words that are coming out of their mouth? Repetitive monologues? Let’s not be that person. Actively consider and put meaning behind your words. It’s like talking to your mum or dad - only it’s to your Father in Heaven. (It may sound very primary and basic but it really is all that simple).
Yes corporate worship and prayer and fasting are a lot easier when you have the support in numbers. But when you are able to do this alone, in your own space it really is an empowering experience. It strengthens your walk knowing that you don’t need anyone to push you in order for you to look for God or spend time in His presence.
These are just a few ways I began to build a stronger relationship, by putting certain things first and others to the side. The things that came after were simply extra blessings. So this year, take some time out! Forget about your lists, and just thank God for what He’s already done. If you are not sure how to and this is something new to you, start of with three things you can think of. You’ll be surprised how many more things will come to mind.
Just some scriptures I found to be great encouragement: