The Paradigms of Prayer | To Know Jesus
In the course of a journey in building a community of prayer in Singapore for the last 5 years, I've learned to cultivate a few paradigms of prayer that sustains my coming in and going out of the prayer room. Regardless of the number of people in the room or how great I feel as a person, these paradigms keep me there and gave me the motivation for showing up for 4 hours, at least twice a week for the past 5 years.
I believe these paradigms function as an anchor in sustaining a culture of prayer that will have fuel our efforts in missions and gospel advancement
I will be breaking them into 5 different paradigms in 5 different posts. I hope these paradigms can help you, your family and your community to cultivate a consistent and enjoyable prayer life that will impact your heart and the people around you.
PARADIGM I | TO KNOW JESUS
There is always a 'Why' in every human being that drives and motivates them to do the things they love to do. If you can identify the 'why' in the praying, you will find joy and purpose in the place of prayer.
Many would assume the goal of prayer is to see answered prayer. I agree with it to a certain extent because I see answered prayer as a means to reveal to an end. Answered prayer reveals the nature of God. It shows us what He is like. When we pray for the sick, and the sick receive healing, the answered prayer reveals God as Healer. When we pray for God to provide for the lack in our lives and He responds us by releasing provision, that answered prayer reveals God as Provider.
Often times, we come to God in the place of prayer when we are in need, which in itself is not wrong, but it won't be sustainable. When we come to God base on our terms and needs, these terms and needs become primary, and God becomes secondary. If God doesn't meet us base on our terms and conditions, we eventually find ourselves disappointed and offended with God, and we will look to other sources to meet that need base on our terms. If the goal of prayer is answered prayer, prayer will never be sustainable.
If the goal of prayer is to know the One whom we are talking to, it will be a constant pursuit because the knowledge of God is inexhaustible. The fruit of the knowledge of God is an inner assurance that God is, and He is able regardless of the circumstances.
Psalm 27 is known as David's one thing and passion. As we read in the context of this Psalm, David was facing adversity and resistance. Throughout the Psalm, David did not contend for any specific breakthrough, but he kept emphasizing on who God is. Under challenging circumstances, all David had to do was to go into the house of God, and find that assurance of who God is and what He can do through beholding God's beauty and inquire in His temple. Thus, he said at the end of verse 3 "In this, I will be confident..." because He knows God is faithful to His Nature and His Word regardless of his circumstances.
There were times when pastors and leaders would experience the stirring of God to call the church to an extended time of prayer because they believe revival is coming and it will happen in a particular manner. For the first few days, people will come with full expectation and energy. After a few weeks, you will see the numbers dwindle and the energy level starts to quench. Eventually, the pastors will be caught up with other stuff, and someone will be assigned to lead the prayer meeting which ends up becoming a prayer ministry in the Church for those who are gifted in praying (we call them intercessors) and are called to this ministry.
When we make prayer meeting a place where everything revolves around our terms and agendas instead of His, we miss the point. When we understand the magnitude of the price Jesus paid on the cross and why He did it, our prayer meetings will no longer be another "ministry" for a few who are "gifted intercessors" today.
Jesus paid a high price on the cross to rend the veil that separates God and Man so that the privilege of one man (high priest) is now given to all Man (Rev 5 - a kingdom of priest). Prayer is not an entitlement, but a privilege. We did nothing to earn it, but it was given to us by the blood of the Lamb.
Jesus had to bleed so that we can commune with God and know Him through prayer (John 17:3). The cross of Jesus that hung between heaven and earth brought reconciliation between God and Man. We no longer have to know God from afar but to know Him intimately as our Father because of His Son. Jesus said, "My house is a house of prayer.". Prayer is the only way His Family relates to One another, and now He is inviting all of us to be a part of that Family who will relate to one another through the place of prayer. What a glorious privilege we have as a follower of Jesus today.
I hope this paradigm of prayer will produce an anchor in your heart in coming before Him regardless of when and how He will answer your prayer. Remember, prayer is not an entitlement for a few, but a privilege for all. Prayer & Intercession is God's Invitation to Intimacy.
Make this your goal today: to know the One whom you are talking to.