I love what RC Sproul wrote in his book "The Prayer of the Lord":
People come to me and ask: "What are the rules for prayer? How should we approach God in prayer? What's the right way to pray?" I tell those who ask these kinds of questions that there are really only two rules you have to keep in mind when you're in prayer, two things that should drive and govern and control your prayer life with the Almighty. You should remember who is being addressed and who is doing the speaking. That is, the first thing you are to remember in prayer is who it is you're talking to, because nothing will condition your prayer life more deeply than remembering that you're in conversation with God, the sovereign Creator and Ruler of the universe. Second, you are to remember who you are. You are not God. You are a creature. So prayer is not a conversation between peers; it is not a fireside chat among equals. This is the creature speaking to the sovereign Creator.
As I wrap my mind and heart around the first of these two rules, I remember who God is. God is God. I am not. I am slowly finding comfort in my place of creation not creator. It is hard to let go of being the one in charge of my life and the world around me. But the more I understand who God is, the easier it is for me to stand before Him as His child. This is where my prayers need to begin. It is where Jesus taught us to begin in the Lord's prayer - "Our Father!"
So now that I KNOW God is God, I am finding out I want to know more and more about who He is and what He has created and planned for me. My prayers can no longer be monologues that leave me feeling like I am talking to a tree. I have a desire, and a duty, to learn more about God. And the best way I know to learn more about God is to read His letters to us. He left us a whole series of books and letters that tell us who He is and what He desires for us. Imagine if your best friend, child or husband left you a book full of letters telling you all their stories. I would want to read that every day, every time I felt that hole from them being gone. That is how I want to feel toward God's word. Reading God's word should be a huge part of my prayer life because it is the best, most true way that God talks to me. I recently came to the realization that I am horrible listener when it comes to God. I recently posted on this blog,
I have been confronted by what a horrible listener I am when it comes to God. I am pretty good about allowing a few moments of quiet reflection when I pray for wisdom or guidance, hoping that God will give me the directions I need in that moment. But I am not utilizing God's actual Words enough, His written Word, His Holy letter to me. I will let days go by before I pick up my Bible and rarely do I think of it as a part of my prayer life. That the Bible is God's word to and for me. That He is speaking, quite literally, in the Bible.And yet, I often throw up prayers to God and then wait for answers to magically appear in my day.
This summer I began to think that praying without reading God's word is a lot like asking my husband, "Does this dress make me look fat?" In both cases, I will never know if the answer I got is the Truth.
And just like I need a regular date night to spend time with my husband, I need a regular date time with God. I need to spend time with God, not just talking about and reading about God. Quality time, dedicated time that is set apart from the regular business of the day. Time that let's God and I reconnect.
I want to know God well enough that I want to hear the truth. I want to trust God enough that I can really hear Him when I need to be told that the dress does indeed make me look fat.