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Christ-Centered Prayer

Relationship lies at the heart of prayer.

Beloved reader, we are so easily like children. Children constantly ask for things. (It is, of course, true that constantly asking for things is part of what it means to be a child.) But children who constantly ask for things are seeking benefit without cost, whether they realize it or not. We need to grow up in prayer and grow out of constantly asking for things from God. If prayer for us is only about constantly asking God for things, then we are merely seeking benefit without cost. It is so easy to pray for others with words, and it so often costs us nothing. True prayer always costs, because it always begins with “Change my heart, Lord.” Those words may not always be spoken, but you can be absolutely certain that the changing of your own self is the only starting point of true prayer. True prayer is always about relationships, never about results.

“Consequently Jesus is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Jesus’s ability to intercede for us came at great personal cost to both himself and his Father. True prayer never seeks benefit without cost.

“This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5).

True prayer begins not with us talking to God but rather with us listening to God. It begins not with us giving to God but rather with us receiving from God. It begins not with us giving ourselves to God but rather with us receiving God himself. True prayer, then, is based in the heart, not in the head. Pray without ceasing, and use words only when absolutely necessary. Such mature prayer needs to be learned through a repeated pleading with God to change our own selves on the inside.

“I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him” (Ephesians 1:17).

If we are to know God better and better in order to exercise ever deeper prayer, then we need the Holy Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Our own spirits need to be open to receiving revelation—and the wisdom to understand and know what to do with that revelation. God is a God of revelation who loves to make himself known, but he does not make himself known unconditionally.

“All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matthew 11:27).

Prayer is discovering that God’s heart is for you. Prayer is not an attempt to establish a relationship with God; it is the expression of a real and growing relationship.

How does Jesus choose whom he will reveal the Father to? God’s hand stretches all the way to us, but he will not force-feed us. God is a God of revelation, not secrecy. He wants to be known. But the exploration of knowing God involves the exploration of knowing ourselves. That is why true prayer always involves change for us. We cannot truly pray and yet stay the same. If we pray and stay the same, it isn’t prayer. Speaking words of prayer for others while we are unwilling for God to change us only proves that what we speak is not true prayer.

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Category: Living the Faith

About the Author: David Broderick worked in electrical retail for twenty-four years before leaving to go to the Scottish Baptist College in 1999 to train for ministry. After completing the course in 2003, he began his first pastorate at Currie Baptist Church in Edinburgh, where he remained for nine years. Since 2012, David has been a member at City Gates Baptist Church in Edinburgh, where he is an elder and involved in teaching, preaching, discipleship, small group leadership, and prayer team ministry. He is the author of The Christ-Centered Life: Deep Calls to Deep (WestBow Press, 2013) and was recognized as one of the “Great Writers You Should Be Reading” in the Authors Show contest. LinkedIn Twitter: @DavidBroderick7

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