We all enjoy getting answers to prayer, but is this what makes up the real ‘core’ of prayer joy? If our prayer enjoyment depends on answers, what happens when answers don’t come? Or maybe they do come, but are not the ones we were hoping for! We’ve all experienced the emotional roller coaster of exciting ups and disappointing downs; dancing over answered prayers and brooding over unanswered ones. The Lord wants us to be glad about answers (John 16:24), but this isn’t our solid prayer joy centre. So, what is?
Every time we ask God for something – help in a personal storm, wisdom in a business decision, healing for a sick friend or peace for a nation in crisis – we step into an arena of massive celebration! Christ’s sacrifice, resurrection and the sending of the Spirit have brought his Kingdom to us. Our asking in prayer is a call for the King to display his rule. And in doing that, we step into the Father’s thunderous celebration of his Son’s great triumph! So, there’s gladness in getting an answer, but there is also joy in the asking, before the answer arrives. However, we’re still not at the centre of prayer joy. So where is it?
Asking (and getting answers) is an important part of prayer life, but it will end. In our eternal “Home-with-the-Lord” prayer will go on. However, there won’t be a need to ask God to do things. We will see him, hear him, and our response will be ADMIRATION. We’ll find ourselves in a zone of continual, fresh exposure to Glory, drawn into levels of wonder, celebration, praise, thanks, adoration and desire beyond anything we can imagine. We will be perfectly joyful forever as admirers of the enthroned Jesus. That will be then, but what about now? His Spirit has come to give us a large deposit of that Day’s joy now; to stretch our experience of enjoying the Lord. He makes the eternal focus our present one: admiration of Jesus. It’s joy in action. Rejoicing in him (entering into the Lord’s celebration of himself) is about choosing to see and respond; using Scripture to look at a truth about him and then voice our admiration. Admiration as priority shapes what and how we ask, and it keeps prayer joy alive even when answers are delayed.
I have just returned from leading a Prayer Training Intensive for people from eight different nations. In the feedback, the one thing that impacted most of them was, learning to pray as admirers of Jesus. Whatever our ‘cultural prayer norm’, our hearts are designed to thrive in this. Growing as admirers of Christ is a Kingdom value and grace that’s too important (and too enjoyable) to miss. Why not take a moment to admire him now using this verse:
But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9)
From this passage….
- See Jesus, the Suffering Servant. What do you see in that truth-picture of him that is worthy of admiration? Voice that admiration to him in prayers of (1) thanks (2) adoration
- See Jesus, the King of Glory. What do you see in that picture of him crowned with “glory and honor” that is worthy of admiration? Voice that to him in prayers of (1) praise (2) desire for him