How Should You Pray? Pray With Joy!
- Bible study
- Christian Evidences
- Christian Living
- Dr Eliezer Gonzalez
Sep 14, 2016 4288
Does this happen to you? You’re reading something you the Bible that you’ve read lots of times and suddenly something leaps out at you and whacks you in the face? That happened to me recently as I was reading the first chapter of Philippians recently, where the apostle Paul says, “I always pray with joy (Phil 1:4).
Paul is referring specifically about how he prays when he thinks of the believers in the church at Philippi. However, given his emphasis throughout his letters on rejoicing in everything, I can’t help but think that Paul prayed with joy at least most of the time.
What strikes me about this is how different this is to what I was taught about prayer, and how I often pray myself. I pray reverently, earnestly, diligently, and often sorrowfully, with a heavy heart. I’ve never really associated “joy” with prayer.
I grew up in a Christian home, and my mother modeled prayer and taught me how to pray. She was a wonderful mother, however she suffered deeply from anxiety and fear. Her prayers were always prayers of anguished tears and crying out to God. There’s a place for that, but I never saw the joy.
In church, I learnt the appropriate postures and phrases, that put together properly, constituted a good prayer. I learnt about reverence and quietness and careful formulation. Again, I never saw the joy.
But of course, I have experienced joy in prayer. Haven’t you? You know, those moments when the peace of God overwhelms your heart so that it feels like it might break with happiness, or those moments when God makes your spirit soars above the troubles of this world so that you simple can’t help but breaking out into praising God? And it makes me think, isn’t that what prayer should be about?
After all, the same Paul who says that he always prays with joy, is the same one who also says, Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Phil 4:4), and “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5:18). So why not pray with joy?
What is the secret of praying with joy? Too often our focus when we pray is basically only on ourselves – our needs and our misery. It’s as if God didn’t even exist.
But what if we allowed ourselves to be consumed by the grandeur, the glory, and the goodness of the One with whom we are speaking? What if we realized that when we pray we are standing before the throne of all goodness, all compassion, and all power that was poured out for us at Calvary? What if we prayed more about God and less about ourselves? That’s what the “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6 is all about!
Finally, praying with joy is not something you learn. It’s something you experience in the context of knowing Jesus and walking with relationship with him. I want to be able to say with Paul, “I always pray with joy.” – Eliezer Gonzalez