Prayer is an important part of the Christian life and is essential to strengthen faith. But often prayer is reduced to a time of bringing our laundry list of wants and needs to God. When one does not then receive the things prayed for, faith is weakened. This is because the Christian’s laundry-list prayer did not have the qualities that honor and revere God.
So what qualities exemplify prayer that honors and reveres God, prayer that strengthens faith? Scripture gives us a wonderful picture of what those qualities are.
But I, by your great mercy,
will come into your house;
in reverence will I bow down
toward your holy temple. Psalm 5:7
When I approach God in prayer it should be with reverence or deepest awe for who He is, not just what I think He can do for me. I am the temple of the Holy Spirit and so I should always have this attitude of worship toward Him. Worship and reverence for God are not just for Sunday, but are for all times and places, especially during prayer.
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
This passage also conveys the need for a sense of awe toward God. In prayer, I need to be silent and listen to what God has to say to me, rather than spending all my prayer time talking to Him. It is important for me to honor God when I pray. After all, if every nation “will” exalt and honor Him, then so should I.
Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” John 15:7.
For my every prayer request to be granted, I must abide in Christ and His words must remain in me. If I remain joined to Christ, my requests will be unselfish and in accordance with His will because they will be guided by the Holy Spirit. If my prayers begin to be selfish and self-centered, this is a sign that I am not abiding in Christ.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16.
My prayers, which are prayed in accordance with the leading of the Holy Spirit, should be bold because they are given in response to God’s promises that He will listen and will answer my prayers. God has promised that He will never leave me nor forsake me. If I truly trust Jesus, I will approach Him boldly because I know He understands the temptations and pain I endure.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6.
Asking for wisdom is always pleasing to God. He is honored by such a request. When Solomon asked for only wisdom, God granted him wisdom greater than any other plus honor, riches, and power. Once I have asked, this passage from James states that I need to trust and expect that God will answer my prayers. There is no room for doubt.
Do not be quick with your mouth,
do not be hasty in your heart
to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven
and you are on earth,
so let your words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2.
In prayer, I should be thoughtful and careful about the words I use to speak to God. My words should be well chosen. I think that by “let your words be few” this passage means that quantity should not be the focus of our prayer. Rather it is the quality of my words that honor and please God.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9.
This is another passage that points to the importance of being in awe of God when I approach Him in prayer. I should be acutely aware of how much greater He is than I am. There is really no comparison and I should be humbled by the knowledge of His greatness.
As Christians, we are blessed and privileged to be able to approach God in prayer, and to know that He will answer our prayers that are in accordance with His will for our lives.