Sunday: Prayer that is Pleasing to God

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Even though clothed in a pious cloak, many prayers are guided by questionable motives. We might pray that someone’s life be spared because we do not like living alone. We might pray for success in God’s work because we are playing an important role in it. We might pray for the conversion of a person because then our life will be easier.

Ask God

Image © Phil McKay

Often our prayers center more on what we want rather than on what God wants. Prayer that is pleasing to God has a different focus.

Read John 15:7. Why is it important for our prayers that we abide in Jesus and His Words abide in us? What different focus will our prayers have if we don’t abide in Jesus?

To seek God first and to enjoy His companionship is more important than anything else He might give to us. If God comes first in our lives, we will want to do what He wants; His thoughts will shape our desires. Once God is the center of prayer, we will begin to pray from His perspective. We will start to see our whole life through His eyes. This perspective ennobles prayer.

God is deeply interested in us. He longs to be part of all aspects of our life: our worries, our fears, our wishes, our hopes, our desires, our success, our joys, our failures-everything. We can talk about these things with Him as with a good friend. And we look at all of it through His eyes.

Prayer does not change God; it changes us, because we are brought into the life-changing presence of God.

“Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.” – Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 93.

What a powerful quote! It captures so much of the reality of what prayer does to us and for us. Prayer alone makes us open receptacles for the grace, the power, and the presence of God in our lives. Who hasn’t at some point experienced the reality of how prayer can draw us closer to God?

Think about your prayer life: that is, what you pray for, when you pray, why you pray, and so forth. What does it tell you about your own spiritual state and your own relationship to God? What changes might you need to make?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons