Happiness comes through giving, receiving and service to others but it ebbs and flows with the tides of life. Joy, by contrast, is the internal mechanism that will carry you to mountaintops and guide you through life’s most turbulent waters; yet it is not diminished by time or circumstances. It is an everlasting gift from God that comes to us through His Son and is spread abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Prayer is one of the many privileges the Trinity has blessed us with.
Please let me introduce you to the heavenly Trinity. They are God the Father, His son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I was adopted into their family 33 years ago. They have effectively managed not only my life and affairs, but that of everyone for more than 6000 years. They can do it all! But here’s the catch: to enjoy the benefits of their grace you must first have a close personal relationship with Jesus. A key ingredient is found in the verse, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33). Jesus is saying first and foremost that we must endeavor to meet the needs of His earthly kingdom; only then should we expect to receive the desires of our heart. But how do we convey those needs to Him? Simple – through prayer and supplication make your request known to God.
No human being has complete theological knowledge of the mind of God. But in numerous places throughout the bible God extends extraordinary invitations to us. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:16). He invites us to His throne of grace to offer prayers of thanksgiving and to ask for help with our weaknesses. He then extends His love, grace, mercy, guidance, wisdom and spiritual strength to us. His attributes are more than sufficient at all times and in all circumstances. Prayer opens the door to His “throne of grace” 24/7, 365.
There are always motivations behind the choices we make. Prayer is no different; the disciples were also concerned about how to pray. On one occasion, a disciple came to Jesus and said, “Lord teach us to pray as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). Jesus responded to their request by giving them a model prayer (Luke 11:2-4). The importance of God’s priorities are dictated by the order of these verses. Clearly, He wants us to place His will ahead of our own. When you pray, remember, it is not that your will be done in heaven, but rather that God’s will on earth can be accomplished through you. Your motives must have clarity of purpose and originate from a pure heart.
Prayer in its most complex form is simply communicating with God. Talk to Him; He really wants to hear from you! Visualize this when you pray: First approach His throne of grace with confidence; then take your thanksgiving or request in hand and give it to the Holy Spirit, your intercessor. He will personally deliver it to Jesus Christ, our advocate, who is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus will then pass your petitions onto God, his Father, who answers every prayer with perfect timing and provision.