As a Pastor and leader in the Church for more than 40 years I have seen many things that pass publicly as prayer. However, I seldom see prayer that is healthy and well-focused. Let’s examine several key biblical motivations for cultivating a life in prayer. Consider your motivations to pray. For example, the motivations for our petitions can often have selfish ambitions behind them, which immediately hinder God’s direct answer. Let us take a moment and ask God to make us aware of some foundational motivations that we need to influence every prayer we pray.
To Love God:
Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The first reason we exist is to be in a love relationship with our God. Our Father is not seeking a work force, but a bride. The primary motivation to pray is just loving and being with God. The fruit of loving God well will also put other parts of our lives with God into proper place.
This central focus of loving God well explains why a primary fruit of coming into God’s presence in prayer is the revelation of our sin and brokenness. God is not trying to fix a broken machine, but forming persons for loving relationship with Him. We need to understand that our Father is ever forming and shaping us for close, intimate fellowship with Him. As you examine your prayer life, is a primary aspect of your time in prayer to be with the one you love? If we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, loving others will flow naturally from us.
To Love People:
1 John 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
God’s love for us, and the outflow of that love for others, enables us to enter into partnership with God in His work in the world. Love is a central motivation to pray for those around you. Do your prayers for other people flow out of love? Is your lack of prayer for other people a symptom of a heart low in love?
God is the definition and source of all real love. Let’s ask together: Sweet Friend and Lord, please fill me, fill your church with your love!