Becoming a praying person is not easy. The disciples soon discovered that
prayer was work, and did not fit into their world-style of fun things to
do. Yet they watched Jesus prayer and something inside was stirred. They
wanted to pray as Jesus prayed, so they began to ask, not once, but over
and over, "Lord, teach us to pray."
An important lesson in Christian living is the realization that we are no
different than the disciples or the people of Israel. We do the same
things, have the same hang-ups, fail in our disciplines, are tempted and
sin in the same ways, and struggle with the same life-long issues they
Learning to pray is a basic Christian discipline, and most of us think we
learn it but never succeed in it. Praying is not asking – that is only the
tip of the iceberg. Real prayer is intimacy in one’s relationship with God.
It is prioritizing God in more than our rhetoric. It means having a time, a
place, and a plan by which we spend rich luxurious amounts of time alone
with God. It is the satisfaction of the heart-longing that David expressed
for all God-seekers – "as the deer pants for the waterbrooks, so my soul
pants for you O God." and "One thing have I desired, that will I seek
after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord forever and inquire in his
Secret of Prayer
True satisfaction in prayer will never come until we learn the secrets of
intimacy. Intimacy means secret prayer, as Jesus expressed it to his
disciples and as David announced it in Psalm 91:1, "He that dwells in the
secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the
Almighty." David was obsessed with "dwelling" with God, and being in
secret places with Him. Until we discover that secret love-affair with God
we will never pray effectively. Prayer is not asking God, but living with
God and loving God with all our inner being.
It is with this intimacy factor in mind that we have redefined our own
prayer habits. The following guide to intimacy in prayer is our own journey
into the depths of God’s love. There is indeed a pattern for entering into
God’s presence. David found it and spoke of it. Psalm 24 and 100 serve as
templates for effective intimacy in prayer.
"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? He that has clean hands and a
pure heart… Open the gates (lift up your heads you gates)! And be lifted
up you everlasting doors and the King of Glory will come in." (Ps 24:3-7)
"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name." (Ps 100:4)
What is the principle?
Gates must be opened and entered into. There is a proper way to enter into
the Holy of Holies and an improper way. Too often we quote Hebrews 4:16
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace…" as an excuse to
barge into the presence of God without thought or preparation, but that is
not the intent of the writer. There is a right way and a wrong way to come
into his presence.
A Pattern For Intimate Prayer
A disciplined prayer life is to obey God rather than our own hurried
inclinations, to take time to be holy, is to enter the presence of the
living God with reverence and holy awe. This is God’s appointed way, not
our cleaver devising. Let His Word be your teacher on how enter into
intimate prayer times with God. Make this your pattern, for it is God’s
pattern, and you will be blessed. Holy men of God, the monks, learned this
secret a thousand years before us, and it is no less powerful today.
Intimacy with God is not found in the marketplace but in the secret quiet
Psalm 46:10 "be still and know that I am God."
Isaiah 30:15 "in quietness and confidence would be your strength."
Behold His Beauty
Psalm 27:4 "to behold the beauty of the Lord."
Psalms 104:34 "My meditation of you will be sweet."
Ps 92:1 "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord."
Ps 100:4 "Enter his gates with thanksgiving… be thankful unto him."
Confess our sins
Ps 32:5 "I acknowledge my sin unto you, and my iniquity…I will confess
I John 1:9 "If we confess our sins he is faithful…to cleanse us from
Cover our nakedness
Psalms 32:1 "blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered."
Rev 3:18 "I counsel of you to gold… white raiment… that the shame of your
nakedness does not appear."
Cast our burdens
Ps 55:22 "Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you."
1 Peter 5:7 "Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you."
Now that all this is done we may enter into the holy of holies.
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our
hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure
water." (Hebrews 10:22)
Now let’s look at each of these steps of intimacy carefully and in detail.