The past few weeks I have been challenging myself to be focused more in prayer. When I look at worship, I feel like my mind categorizes and ranks worship into three main categories in the following order; music, Bible reading, prayer. While there is nothing wrong with that list of worship experiences, I would have to argue that the list would impact our spiritual lives greater in the opposite order.
Don't get me wrong, I love worship music. I love experiencing a worship set with the congregation, and even more so love playing music to contribute to the process of experiencing God. If anything, because of my love for music, I can credit music to having a huge contribution into my spiritual development. Not only in the past, but currently in the present.
The reason I want to talk about prayer is that I believe that prayer is the most natural way for us to personally connect with Christ. Worship music can be full of truth and invoke relational responses to our Lord. Along with that, spending time in God's word gives us the source of those truths that we sing about. His Word gives us solid evidence of who He is, and why we sing what we sing. Yet, I believe that through our worship in prayer, we can have an intimate, deeply driven spiritual, emotional, and even physical connection to Christ.
Why have I been feeling like I need more prayer in my life? Why have I felt a desire to be more active in talking with my God? There are a few reasons behind it.
1. Spiritual Connection in my Relationships
I want to be more spiritual connected and involved with the people in my life. I recently have been feeling more of a desire to be spiritually active in my friendships and relationships. I love people. Especially the people closest to me. Yet, I have felt like without intentional prayer for those people in my life, there is a disconnect between us. Without Christ in our relationships, we have a capped depth that those relationships can reach.
"Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." - James 5:16
2. Accepting God's Guidance
God will guide our lives in our prayers. God has given us, and continues to give us wisdom, guidance and forgiveness through our prayer. Without a life dedicated to prayer, we can lose touch with Jesus. And most importantly, without a life dedicated to prayer, we may not be willing to listen to His guidance. It is much easier to ignore guidance when there is a disconnect with Him compared to when we are actively communicating and listening. But with a solidified relationship with Jesus, we will follow his plan, even when it's difficult. Our connection in prayer to Him helps build our trust in His direction.
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." - Romans 8:26
3. A Personal Relationship with Him
I want my relationship with Jesus to be as personal as it can get. Don't get me wrong, worship music can be incredibly personal. We can have personal connection with God through reading His word. But, on top of both of those, I believe that in my life, the most personal connection comes from openly speaking with Him in prayer. Coming to Jesus with my praises, coming to Him with my hardships, with my questions, with my confusions, help develop a new level of trust and depth. Knowing that I can go to Jesus with anything in prayer helps me know that He is a God who is for me, who cares for me and who wants to know me.
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under god's mighty hand, that He may life you up in due time. Case all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:6-7
I have been trying to develop a new habit of asking my friends for prayer requests so that I have specific things to go to God in prayer with. I have been challenging myself to tell God my emotions, share with Him my everyday thoughts, to be more vulnerable. He already knows them all, but how much more personal is our relationship with God when we tell Him ourselves? I even bought a journal (why are they so spendy?) to write in everyday to make a habit of processing my thoughts so that I can be directed in my prayer.
With dedication to prayer, I believe that our relationships with Christ can go deeper. Through that, everything in our life will be more spiritually led, because we are allowing God to be deeply connected with our hearts.