- Confession and
“When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.” – Psalm 75:3
The Bible is full of models for these three steps into the secret place with God: many Psalms follow this progression, and Jesus taught us this pattern of prayer in the Lord’s Prayer. Modern Christian practice, however, seems very far from this elementary practice in prayer. We are so hurried; it seems good enough to just throw our prayers up to Heaven on the run. God loves us so much that He hears and answers those prayers – but if that is all we can do on a daily basis, we are missing out on one of the greatest purposes of prayer: to change us on the inside! The most effective prayers are positioned from the heart of God. This is why we need to take time in prayer, allowing God’s heart to become our heart.
The practice of adoration, confession and thanksgiving in prayer prepares us. It prepares us to come with the perspective of the big picture. God is Omnipotent. He can certainly handle my little problems today, as huge as they may look to me. It also causes us to lay down our baggage so that we can come before Him with clean hands and a pure heart. We can only come into the presence of God with our minds and hearts cleaned from sin and distraction.
Let’s take a closer look at these steps of preparation for meaningful prayer or intercession:
Adoration – “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being. To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 4:11; 5:13b).
Begin your prayer time by offering up a prayer of praise to the Sovereign Lord who sits on the throne and acts with complete righteousness and justice. For more, meditate on Psalm 145 and present your own prayer of praise.
Confession – “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false” (Psalm 24:3-4).
As we enter into the Presence of the Lord and are confronted with His holiness, we realize that we must ask Him to first cleanse us of our daily sin, and the dust of the world in which we live. If we desire to see the Truth and purity of His Word poured out upon the world in our lives through prayer, we must let Him wash us clean. (1 John 1:9). For more, meditate on Romans 6:1-14 and offer up your prayer of confession, asking God to purify your heart that you may be a free-flowing channel of His grace to those He desires to use you to touch with His love.
Thanksgiving – “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).
Take time before you submit your petitions to the Lord to thank Him for His constant grace and past mercies in hearing and answering your prayers. There are myriad gestures of love that we could thank Him for – that He supplies for you every day. Just take the time to recognize a few, and thank Him. Doing this will cultivate a heart of thanksgiving in you – and will revolutionize your life! For more, meditate on Psalm 100 and offer up a prayer of Thanksgiving to our truly awesome Heavenly Father for His mighty acts in your own life, and His gracious provision for you every day.
Supplication – “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
As we enter into our time of prayer or intercession, let us remember that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood”. The battles we face are spiritual and as such we must come before the Lord with consecrated hearts, putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). We are not using the weapons the world wields (2 Corinthians 10:3-6), but accessing the full power of God (Zechariah 4:6). In doing this we will experience the victory of God. For more, meditate on Romans 1:18-33 and pray over your needs and the needs of the world with a heart full of God’s love and compassion.