How to Pray

Throughout the history of the Church, from the beginning of history in the garden of Eden, through the times of the judges, prophets, apostles and now modern times, prayer has always been fundamental for our relation to God. We are part of his covenant, a personal friendship between us and our Father. We must continue to communicate through prayer with the One who so carefully crafted us and chose us to be His own.

We know we must pray, yet often we fail to do so consistently. We all know the calling to “Pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17), yet we rarely do so.  With this problem arises a question: How do we pray?

As we come before our covenant God in prayer, we must come with a Christian attitude of humility. We must come with an open heart before our God, imploring His grace. We need Him for our very existence. We know He will provide our daily bread and listen to us when we pray. He “will never leave nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). God is exalted above all, exalted above the heavens, yet He bows down His ear to us and looks upon us in grace. It is because of the Lord’s grace that we are here today, and because of His loving act of choosing us as His own that we have the ability to come to Him in prayer.

As we come to God with an attitude of humility, exalting Him above all, we must hold ourselves in a way that is reverent towards His name. Whether this be folding your hands and closing your eyes to remove yourself from the ever present distractions, or even holding out your arms and looking up to heaven, we must come reverently towards His throne of grace. He will hear the prayers of His children as they rise up to him. He will hear and answer each and every request we make. Come to God reverently as He is our Father and King, the One who created us each “fearfully and wonderfully” (Ps. 39:14), and in His eternal counsel has chosen us as His own. We, finite creatures that we are, He has chosen for His own! How could we not come before him in prayer with great reverence?

We must remember that it is not our ability to pray that determines the status of the prayer, but rather the Christian attitude of humility towards our God for His grace and love that we experience all throughout our lives. Prayer arises our of humility and reverence toward God our Father. And prayer also leads us to deeper humility and reverence before Him. God our Father surely hears those who humbly and reverently come to Him in prayer.

Alex Van Uffelen

Becoming As Little Children

Imagine yourself standing at the foot of a giant redwood tree, looking up at a massive trunk that extends hundreds of feet into the sky.  Or in a boat in the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight and water stretching out endlessly in every direction.  Or lying on the ground, looking up at a night sky filled with countless stars.  Or standing on a ledge overlooking the vastness of the Grand Canyon.  How do these images make you feel?  Small?  Filled with amazement and awe? Like a child?

In Matthew 19:14, Jesus says, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”  He says that those who will enter into the kingdom of heaven must become as little children, and one of the most obvious attributes of children is that they are small.  The eyes of the three-foot-tall toddler open wide in wonder at the huge world around them, the same world that we see and pass by without a second glance.  This humility, this living in awe, is part of the “becoming as little children” that Jesus speaks of.  Just as children are so easily filled with joy and wonder, we too should stand in awe of God’s creation, awe that leads us to grateful worship and humble trust in our Creator.  When we humble ourselves before God’s greatness, we should be filled with the joy and gratitude of a child, eyes wide in wonder of our awesome God.

Tomorrow is the Lord’s Day.  After a whole week of seeing God’s goodness, we should be filled with this childlike joy as we enter His house.  Yet so often we find ourselves going through the motions of worship without joy in our hearts, without actually thinking about what He has done for us or being filled with gratitude.  Unlike the child who is humble, happy, and content even in the little things, we take God’s gifts for granted and come into His house out of habit or even grudgingly.

Why are children filled with joy so easily, while we find it so difficult to live a thankful, joyful life?  It’s true that children, being small, are more easily filled amazement.  But another reason children are so easily made content is that they aren’t filled with expectations.  We have a sense of expectation and often see God’s gifts as something that we deserve or are entitled to, but children do not have this sense of entitlement and receive everything as a surprise.

A few weeks ago in church, we sang Psalter #204, which contains the words, “O it is good that I may still to God draw nigh, as oft before.”  How often do we take it for granted that we are able to draw nigh unto God?  He is the almighty, all-powerful God, yet He has given us the right to come to Him both individually and together with His church.  What an amazing gift, yet one that we so often take for granted.

As you prepare to enter God’s house tomorrow, think upon all of God’s amazing works.  Look at His creation.  Meditate on the ways you have seen Him at work in your life.  Count the blessings He has placed in your life this week, the gifts that you may have taken for granted.  And tomorrow, come into His house with the joy and trust of a child, humbled by His love and goodness.

Amy Kaiser