Prayer: Set Your Heart on God

I have struggled to have a meaningful prayer life for so long. If someone asks me to pray on their behalf or over a particular situation, I willingly take on the challenge and complete it in order to check it off a list. I know there is more to prayer than just going before God with my list of needs. I also know that what I pray may not go along with God’s will. I just didn’t know any other way.

Last week we looked at the prayer of consecration, offering a heart before God, to be cleaned and used by God for his purposes. I want God to use me. I want everything I have to be laid before Him to do with it what he likes. Its all His anyway. Praying a consecration prayer helps me enter my day with zero expectation that things are going to go the way I want them to. Laying it all before God reminds me that the details of my day will go the way He desires. I have to be content with that.

Intervention prayers require me to look at prayer in a different light. In “Live A Praying Life!” by Jennifer Kennedy Dean, she writes: “The purpose of prayer is to discover God’s will, not obligate Him to do mine; to reflect God’s mind, not change it… Changing my prayer focus from my own satisfaction and happiness to God’s glory and eternal purposes would take a brand new heart.” A brand new heart…a clean heart ready to be molded and used by God.

If God will answer my prayers however He wants, then what is the point of praying for intervention in the first place? Dean also writes that our prayers are like puzzle pieces when only God can see the completed picture. This is evident to me throughout the Bible as God’s people relentlessly lift their prayers to Him.

I thought of Jesus praying in Gethsemane before He was arrested. He knew God was calling him to die the most brutal death. That was his entire purpose for coming to earth, yet he still prayed to God for intervention, three different times (according to Matthew 26), “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?” (Matthew 26:39, MSG) Jesus asked God to intervene. He asked to be released from this responsibility of dying a horrific death. In his human-ness, he did not want to endure the pain that was to come. However, after expressing his desire three times, he also said, “may your will be done”. We can express our desires to God but in the end we have to understand God’s sovereignty. He knows infinitely more than we do.

Its one of those scriptures I have read so many times, yet missed how God answered. In my head, Jesus prayed, yet had to die anyway. But God did intervene. “Then an angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him” (Luke 22:43, CSB). He sent an angel to strengthen Jesus in order for God’s will to be completed. Jesus had to die for the sins of the world, but God gave him the ultimate strength in order to endure the coming hours.

During one of the most painful times of my life, I prayed for God to “do whatever it takes”. It was my “your will be done” prayer and it was the hardest prayer I have ever had to pray. I knew what I wanted the outcome to be, but I had absolutely no control over it. So I prayed, “Lord do whatever it takes. Protect my family, but please do whatever it takes to get us through this.” It wasn’t easy, but I trusted that whatever the outcome, God knows best.

It’s been several years since I prayed that prayer. I repeated it relentlessly and desperately. Did God fix everything immediately? No, but He led me to do some hard work on my heart and my attitude. Was it worth trusting Him with all of it? Absolutely. He intervened in ways I didn’t even ask, in ways I didn’t even know I needed Him to. My puzzle piece prayers did not compare to beauty of the completed picture.

I hope you have downloaded and printed off the prayer cards*. The prayer of intervention can be tailored to your particular situation. Don’t just pray it once and move on. Jesus prayed three times for God to intervene. I bet he prayed that same prayer in the days leading up to his arrest as well. Trust in God’s sovereignty. Align your heart and will with His. You will see His intervention in ways you didn’t expect.

*The prayer cards can be sent to you by joining the email list. Simply put your e-mail in the box at the top and you should see the prayer cards delivered to your inbox!

2 thoughts on “Prayer: Set Your Heart on God

  1. I started doing Moms In Prayer a year and a half ago and it revolutionized my prayer life. Looking at prayer as a way to worship and grow closer to the Lord instead of a checklist or list of needs was a complete perspective shift for me! Love your writing, loved your book on John! 🙂

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