the wonder of simple prayers

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“Prayer is the quiet, persistent living of our life of desire and faith in the presence of our God.” Andrew Murray

The Bible says we have God’s Spirit inside us. In other words, there is someone by your side every moment of every day. And even more amazing, this someone is purely good and perfectly wise and beautifully kind and insanely powerful and loves you unconditionally.

Why wouldn’t we share every detail with this person?

My answer to that question, though difficult to admit, is I get distracted by lesser things, or I’m so absorbed with myself that I don’t think of anyone else, or sin deafens my desire to share, or I’m juggling so many expectations and tasks I never still long enough to listen. I read that sentence, and I repent.

The gift of prayer, of ongoing conversation with infinite, holy, all-knowing God, reigning King Jesus, and Counselor Holy Spirit, is a gift I take for granted too often. And there’s a need for right understanding of this exchange. He’s not asking for long monologues and formal phrasing. He’s not expecting a pretty appearance or perfect grammar. Like I told my middle schoolers last Sunday, a way we worship is by confessing our need of Him. God is not glorified when He’s made small in our minds.

You do not need to swindle yourself into thinking that you are strong. You can face your weakness with joy because you know that you have been given grace for that weakness; grace that is not a thing, but a person—the Holy Spirit, who makes you the place where he dwells in power. Paul David Tripp

A way to magnify God’s greatness, care, and love is to invite Him into every decision, conversation, and circumstance.

I’ll paint a recent scenario for you. The morning of a meeting I know will result in awkwardness and honesty, I ask for God’s help in preparing what to say. At the table, I visualize Him sitting in the chair next to me. While others are speaking, I wait patiently, peacefully, awaiting His ‘cue’ to voice my opinion. Dialogue ensues. I lean over and ask what He thinks the topic, and I listen. The conversation ends, having had it’s uncomfortable but healthy interactions, and I see His smile, affirming He’s in control and I did well. In a situation I deemed a little trivial, something I would handle on my own, God worked with me. He helped me, and I could sense the difference it made. I actively engaged with His power and presence, and it turned a big gear inside me.

This could be our everyday experience. We may not perceive Him clearly or even feel His presence, but the Bible promises He is with us (2 Timothy 1:14). Some days will take greater faith than others, but I have no doubt the habit of sharing and listening will produce beautiful fruit in our lives.

 

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I’ve been challenged lately on the ease and richness of ‘simpler’ prayers. After exploring, I found many in the Bible I would like to memorize:

  • Teach more Your way in this situation, Lord. (Psalm 86:11)
  • Open my eyes so I can see wonderful truth in Your Word. (Psalm 119:18)
  • Set a guard over my mouth. (Psalm 141:3)
  • Be my joy and peace. (Romans 15:13, Philippians 4:4-7, 2 Thessalonians 3:16)
  • All for God’s glory. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  • You are faithful. (2 Timothy 2:13, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, Hebrews 10:23)
  • You are helping me in _____. (Isaiah 41:10)
  • Sin has no mastery over me. (Romans 6:13-14)
  • Remind me of who You are. (Colossians 1:15–23)
  • Faith, not sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
  • Thank you, Lord. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  • I am in awe of You. (Hebrews 12:28-29)
  • I am accepted in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)
  • I trust you to keep me from evil today. (Psalm 121:7, 2 Timothy 4:18)
  • Refresh my heart today. (Philemon 20b)
  • Progress, not perfection. (Philippians 2:13)
  • Quiet my nerves with Your love. (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • Nothing separates us. (Romans 8:37-39)
  • Be glorified in me. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
  • You increase, I decrease. (John 3:30)
  • You are a God of peace, not confusion. (1 Corinthians 14:33)
  • Remind me what You have done for me (Romans 5:1–11)
  • I need Your wisdom for ______. (James 1:5-7, 3:17-18)
  • Your grace is sufficient for me / for this. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • Fix my mind on You, not ___________. (Colossians 3:2)
  • Comfort me. (Isaiah 51:12, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
  • Help me to hope in You, not ___________. (Psalm 147:11)
  • Direct my heart to Your love. (2 Thessalonians 3:5)
  • You are in my midst. (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • When I confess, You forgive. (1 John 1:9)
  • Be strong in the Lord. (Ephesians 6:10)
  • You will keep me from stumbling. (Jude 24)
  • Help me live humbly. (James 4:10, 1 Peter 3:8-9, 5:5-6)
  • I am precious to You. (Isaiah 43:4)
  • In You is no darkness. (1 John 1:5)
  • You never change. (Hebrews 13:8)
  • You supply my every need. (Philippians 4:19)
  • Grace abounds. (Romans 5:20-21)
  • Take this burden. (Matthew 11:28-29)
  • May I serve in the grace You supply. (1 Peter 4:11)
  • I worship You with my life. (2 Chronicles 16:23-34)
  • Help me stay connected to You. (John 15:5, 1 John 4:15-16)
  • Satisfy me with Your love. (Psalm 90:14)
  • You are on my side, I will not be afraid. (Psalm 118:6)
  • There is no fear in Your love. (1 John 4:18-19)
  • Your love holds me up. (Psalm 94:18)
  • I trust You. (Psalm 143:8)

 

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Clearly, I became a little caught up combing through Scripture’s pages. Reading them, I can’t help but smile over the goodness of God.

I also can’t help but acknowledge the peace, joy, and confidence to be experienced in any moment with these simple prayers. This exercise of faith works and strengthens to fight off the Perfectionist, Fixer, and Critic voices that try to make camp in my mind.

When feeling says, ‘In myself, I am sinful; I am dark; I am weak; I am poor; I am sad;’ let faith say ‘In Christ, I am holy; I am light; I am strong; I am rich; I am joyful.’ Andrey Murray

Saying these simple prayers on the spot is bound to slow any frantic and unsettled soul. They will cheer and comfort us, guide and convict us, and most important, always point us to our great God. In their repetition, perhaps we will cultivate an unwavering belief in God, as well as a more intimate friendship with Him.

Rather than thinking of prayer as communicating with God, think of it as openness to God… Think of what a difference it would make to our life if we were to live with a steady awareness of God’s presence in the midst of our daily lived experience. This comes from a spirit that is turned toward God in openness and trusting attentiveness. Juliet Benner

May these Biblical truths becomes the playlist in our minds. May they open us up to experiencing more of God. May they transform us into fountains of hope and reflections of Christ to all we encounter.

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