One way you can develop a healthy prayer life is to pray in such a way as to be confident God will act.
Charles Spurgeon said, “Prayer is the slender nerve that moveth the muscles of omnipotence.”. Nerves are so tiny, aren’t they? I’ve got some damaged nerves from knee surgery. Hit me on my left knee in just the right place and I won’t feel a thing. I don’t think I’ve ever physically seen a nerve, but the movement of my muscles depends on them. Spurgeon saw prayers as the nerves that move God’s mighty muscles. I like that picture. It reminds me of Psalm 89.9-13,
“You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. You crushed Rahab like one of the slain; with your strong arm you scattered your enemies. The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. You created the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name. Your arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.”
My prayers often feel more like invisible, fragile nerves than mighty muscles or a strong arm. But I guess that’s the point. I’m the nerve – God is the muscle. I don’t need to worry about how ‘powerful’ my prayer is. My faith should be in God’s ‘muscles’, not my own.
So, how are our ‘nerves’ and God’s ‘muscles’ working? How should we pray? What should we expect? Let me offer the first of three thoughts …
Prayer is satisfying when God is who we are seeking
Did your mother or father ever accuse you of loving them only for their money? God wants a relationship with us, and we need a relationship with him more than any ‘gift’ he has for us. John Piper is quoted as saying, “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.”. Why not spend the first part of your prayer time communing with God – before asking him for anything.
Discipline your mind and heart to speak only to Him of who He is and what it is about Him that impresses you the most. Pray through this passage:
“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” (Psalms 27:4 NIV11)
Follow up by meditating on these verses:
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” (Psalms 63:1–4 NIV11)
We’ll look at two further points in upcoming articles.
Questions: Have you been more focused on your requests and problems than God Himself? What will help you get your priorities straight? What will you do differently in your next prayer time? Leave a comment in the comment section.
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 Twelve Sermons on prayer, Baker Books, p 31
 Quoted in The Joy of Fearing God, J Bridges, Monarch, p 254