We have come into a new year and with that comes new opportunity to invest ourselves in the most basic means of grace possible in pursuing intimacy with God: the Word of God and prayer. There are a number of plans to get through the Bible in a year (or two), and we have all sorts of tools available to us as it relates to prayer, but at its bottom I believe we must be convinced of their necessity to our spiritual vitality, and they must be driven by a passionate heart which seeks to know God above all things. Some thoughts from George Mueller have been extremely helpful to me as it relates to “blending” Word and prayer throughout my days. Mueller speaks of the need to be constant in prayer in order to be “constantly happy in God.”
He said, “I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord…Formerly,when I rose I began to pray as soon as possible and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer…Often after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then began really to pray.”
Mueller, however, began to change his approach and discovered the following discovery sustained him for the rest of his days. “I began to meditate on the New Testament, from the beginning, early in the morning . . . searching into every verse for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found almost invariably is this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation; yet, it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer.”
This has been a crucial insight for my own soul and has kept me invariably from repetitive kinds of prayers. For example, as my wife and I continue to work on memorizing Ephesians I find that I am praying Scripture back to God. One prayer request I have for myself is that I would walk worthy of the calling to which I have been called, and this is derived from Ephesians 4:1. I continue on and pray that I would walk in humility, gentleness, patience, unity, and peace, and these requests are derived from Ephesians 4:2-3. I pray this for others also, usually starting with myself, praying for immediate family members, and going outward from there to other family, friends, church, state, country, and world.
This will add a depth to your prayers and also ensure that you are praying according to God’s will as He so directed. In order for this to occur we must devote ourselves to praying without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17) and meditating on the Word of God day and night (Psalm 1). So may we be a people who deeply yearn to know God through His Word and prayer, and may He then use us to glorify His name in incredible ways throughout the world.