Thursday, November 1, 2012

Focused Prayer

At our staff Bible Study last night we talked about Worship, and specifically how Prayer is a part of worship.   Worship, and therefore Prayer, should be focused on God, and on His glory.   
I’m sure you’ve heard before that you can tell what a person truly worships by the way they spend their time and their money.  After pondering what I learned last night, I think we need to add, by the way they pray, too. 
Ouch.  I have to confess that my prayers often include a quick acknowledgement of God, a Thank You, and then, the niceties completed, it’s time to get to the heart of things.  You know, my needs and desires, my confession, my petitions.  
Not that any of these are bad!  Jesus taught His disciples to include asking for daily bread, forgiveness, and deliverance from evil.  But, when my prayer is focused on me, who am I really worshiping?
During our Bible Study we used The Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23 as a way to learn more about how to pray.  We were then invited to spend time alone, writing out a prayer, using those models to guide us. 
As I pondered the amazing holiness of God, words poured out, quickly filling up the page.  Verses from the Psalms, Revelation and more came to mind, becoming a part of my prayer.  By centering on God and His glory, the needs of my life took their proper place.  Yes, they were there, but, so is God. 
This morning I began my quiet time and started praying in my normal ‘me-centered’ way.  And then, what sorrow as the Holy Spirit prompted me to see it.  I am ashamed to admit, praying in an intentionally God-focused way is not natural for me.  Yet. 
But, I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to move in me, moving me out of the way so that God alone is the focus of my worship.  That He alone is glorified and exalted in all aspects of my life, including my prayers.
Dear Father,
Holy, Holy, Holy.  You are worthy, You alone are worthy to receive all praise, all glory. 
By You and through You all things were made.  You spoke and it was good. 
You always were, You always are, You always will be.  My mind cannot begin to understand this. 
There is no place where You are not, and yet You cannot be contained.  Instead, You hold all things in Your hand.  The hand where You have measured all the waters of the earth.  The hand in which You have carved each of Your children. 
Thank you for all You are.  Thank you for all You have done, for all You are doing, for all You will do. 
Thank you for Your patience, holding back Your wrath and judgment so all may have the opportunity to hear of You, to accept Your gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Jesus.  The name above all names, the name which allows me to even be talking to You.  Jesus, who emptied Himself so that we may be filled to all fullness.  Jesus, a name taken lightly, misused, scorned.  In some places, a name worthy of death.  Strengthen the Persecuted Church, I pray. 
Oh, Jesus, one day every knee will bow, every tongue will confess!  One day, there will be perfect shalom – nothing missing, nothing broken.  How I long for that day!
Holy Spirit, You were there moving across the void.  You were there with David as He wrote words which millions of voices have used to praise You.  You never leave us, never forsake us.  You groan out our prayers when we are too overwhelmed to know what to say. 
Your presence and power continue to spread like flames throughout the world, drawing some from every tongue, tribe, language and nation to the Throne.
Oh, Triune God, I am small and selfish.  You are big and gave everything.  You are powerful and mighty to save.  May I live out of that truth. Renew my trust in You as I spend time focused on Your greatness, Your glory.
Yours alone is the kingdom, and the power, and glory for now, and forever. 
In Jesus’ name, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen

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