What’s in it for me? The question is thought more than it’s voiced. How will prayer growth benefit me? Of course, the big motivation to grow as pray-ers is not the reward, but the impact it has on the Lord. Prayer honours God’s Love-choice to reveal himself and be accessible. Growing in prayer raises that honour. But what does the growing mean for us? The question isn’t primary, but it is relevant. I’m not going to add a long list of benefits, but here are three crucial things that growing in prayer gives us:
1. It deepens our REST in the Lord
Prayer means having God-and-me exchanges; he is the Lead Speaker and we learn to respond. That’s true in all types of praying – from admiration to asking, from contemplation to warfare. The journey of growing in prayer is about learning to hear him, see his perspective and shape responses to agree with him. It’s this agreement with him that draws our hearts into rest. Rest is an eternal blessing from the Lord, a gift we get to enjoy now, not only in our final, chaos-free Home. And growth in prayer deepens that experience of resting.
2. It raises our ENJOYMENT of the Lord
Prayer is at the heart of relationship with Christ. The prayer growth arena is as big as God; even a lifetime of learning prayer won’t exhaust all he wants to teach his prayer disciples. Growing in prayer is about growing in the knowing of him from close-up, and through that comes increased enjoyment of him. Prayer growth lifts our ability to share in his joy, in his pure, unending celebration of himself.
3. It shapes our HEARTS in Christ’s MISSION
Prayer draws us into God’s heart, so his desires shape ours. As we grow in prayer our values and life-goals are increasingly formed and filtered to serve what he calls important. We grow as partners in his mission; passionate about his message, his Kingdom and his glory in all nations. Not only does growing as pray-ers strengthen that passion, but it also sharpens our cutting edge in serving his mission. Our “Your kingdom come” prayer involvement strengthens, becomes more intentional, and more satisfying.
Last week’s post called for a new normal: a trans-generational commitment to growth in prayer. It’s not an original “new”, but a fresh “new”; a present-day, deliberate choice by an increasing number of people (a movement) to prioritize prayer growth. For many, prayer is:
- An activity, usually done at certain times of the day, on some occasions or in crises.
- Something we are taught as kids or as new believers, but is not something we pursue growth in (apart from the special intercessor-type people, who are seen as different from the rest of us).
The new normal is about us reaching beyond the construct that has made prayer uninteresting, duty-fueled and need-orientated, and which has limited the adventure of prayer growth to a few who are called and gifted for prayer. The new normal is about all of us planning to grow as pray-ers. And yes, we will benefit from it. We will be changed (and become better agents of change); we will grow in rest, in our enjoyment of him and in heart-connection to his mission. But the biggest reward is the awareness that every step in prayer growth is a leap forward in honouring the Lord!