We are S.H.A.P.E.D. by spending time with God.
Often times our prayer life consists of simply asking God to give us what we want. One pastor said, we often seek God’s hand without seeking His face. God will provide for us, but above everything He wants us to know Him. Throughout scripture God’s desire is to be our God and for us to be His people. God doesn’t just want us to treat him like a benefactor. He wants us to know Him and to let Him into more and more of our lives.
As we said with our Bible Reading, we want our lives to be shaped by the right story. Prayerful reading of scripture is an important part of prayer. We don’t want to just read God’s story, we want to pray through it in such a way that it gets rooted into the deepest parts of our heart. Not other story but God’s story defines me.
Don’t just ask, listen and obey. In Deuteronomy 6 we find what Israelites called the “Shema”. “Hear, O Israel, Yahweh your God is one Yahweh…” The word hear in both Hebrew and Greek means to hear and obey. If you hear your Father, you do what your Father says. Prayer is not only about asking God for stuff. In fact, in Jesus’ model of prayer, less than half of the prayer was about that. We need to spend as much time listening as we do talking.
1 John 2:1 tells us that we have an advocate, Jesus, who interecedes to the Father on our behalf. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and stands permanently by the Father’s side making our case. Because Jesus does this for us and because we are a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9), we also have the blessing and responsibility of being advocates for others, intereceding on their behalf.
We are renewed by the transforming of our minds. (Rom 12:1-2). This is not the law of attraction or “manifesting” what you want. But, a big part of prayer is rewiring our minds. Picturing things in your mind helps your brain create new neural pathways. So, taking some time to picture yourself being the kind of person you read about in your daily Bible reading will help you become that person. Col 3:1-2 tells us to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. Jesus himself in Luke 14:28 spoke of planning things out in your mind in advance.
When we pray, we are supposed to pray in faith believing that God hears and answers our prayers. When we pray we should expect God to answer our prayers. Sometimes the timing is different than we would like, but God always answers. When what we are asking is a part of God’s plan we know He wants to accomplish we can expect that He will fulfill His will. (James 1:5-8, Heb. 10:22-29, Mark 6:5-6)
Finally, prayer isn’t something we should rush through. It’s not even something we should do for a while in the morning and then be done with. Instead, we are supposed to pray at all times. Prayer is constant. It’s something we do all day every day as we work, interact with others and other activities. (1 Thes 5:16-18, Eph 6:18)