Relational prayer is centered on knowing God and building a relationship with Him. The goal is not praise nor thanksgiving, and certainly not asking, for which we are famous. Many of our prayer times are often a list of wants as if we are sitting on Santa’s lap.
However good and needed these requests may be, I suggest prayer is not about that. It is not about making our life on earth as comfortable as possible, nor praying for everything to go right; it is about us coming to God as we are and relating to Him. That’s relational prayer.
Relational prayer is the best way I’ve discovered to develop and nourish the relationship with God given to me by Jesus through His life, death, and resurrection.
Relational prayer is us communicating in a real way with God where we speak and we also listen. We learn that knowing God has more for us as Christians then any blessing here on earth. The blessings on earth are referred to as “second things” -- second to knowing God.
How do we keep first things first? That’s what this blog is about. A way that I have found very helpful in developing my relationship with Father. I hope you will try it and that it works for you.
I offer this prayer idea to help us all return to a close relationship with God. Once you get a feel for it, praying relationally comes as naturally as breathing. Relating to God is what we were designed to do.
The first step is presenting yourself to God
Not how you think that you should be, but how you really are, authentically. Make a habit of looking at where you are, and telling God that without holding anything back. Find your “red dot” [think mall map] -- the exact point that you are at that very moment.
Present yourself to God without pretense. Be a real person. Tell Him whatever is going on inside you.
Don’t hold anything back.
Don’t pretend that what’s going on inside you (e.g. hatred) really isn’t happening.
Don’t trivialize what’s happening as unimportant, petty, not worth mentioning.
Don’t spin whatever you discover that’s disagreeable into something more pleasant.
Be who you are, where you are. Hold nothing back. Be completely honest with God.
Once you have presented the real you, then consider your present picture of God.
Many of us grow up picturing God inaccurately, perhaps as a buddy or a stern father. It is important to unpack how you are thinking of God and then correct it with Scripture.
This is extremely important. How we view God has a direct impact on how we live our lives. For example, if we see Him as nothing more than an all-powerful, stern judge looking to destroy us, we will never trust Him nor feel loved by Him. If we see Him as nothing more than a loving teddy bear, we will not see Him as Someone who can help us when everything turns against us.
Again, no pretending. Ask yourself, “How am I experiencing God right now?” Is He a vending machine, a frowning father, a distant, cold force? Or is He your gloriously strong but intimate Papa?
Attend to who God really is versus who you think God is (based on life experience) or who you want Him to be (based on your felt desires).
Don’t assume your view of God is correct.
Don’t project your experience with authority figures, especially your father, onto God.
Realize your experience with authority figures has shaped your view of God.
Identify your tendency to create God into someone who will always help you feel good.
Third, clear out anything that is blocking our relationship with Father.
Purge yourself of anything blocking your relationship with God. Put into words whatever makes you uncomfortable or embarrassed when you’re real in your relationship with Him. How are you thinking more about yourself and your satisfaction than about anyone else, including God and His pleasure? We should see how we can be obsessed with ourselves when we should be obsessed with God.
Get rid of anything blocking your intimacy with God by acknowledging without excuse how self-centredness affects your motives.
Don’t simply try hard to be good; don’t merely promise to do better. Be honest.
Don’t criticize others’ faults without first seeing your own equally serious faults.
Don’t dismiss your ‘screw-ups’ as understandable mistakes.
Don’t assume that your strong passion for what you believe is right is necessarily right.
Stand naked before God. He won’t destroy you. The more you see your sin, the more you’ll be amazed by Grace.
Finally, approach God as the “first thing” in your life.
Approaching God as the “first thing” in your life, means you see Him as your most valuable treasure, the Person you most want to know. Admit that other people and things really do matter more to you right now, but you long to want God so much that every other good thing in your life becomes a “second thing” desire. There is nothing wrong with ‘second things’ when Father is your first thing.
Approach God with confidence that what He loves to give you is what you want the most.
Don’t negotiate with God. You have no leverage other than His relentless, tender love and your longing to get what He’s giving.
Don’t demand anything from God; expect the gift of relationship.
Don’t let the desires that you feel dictate your expectations of what He’ll give you.
Stand before God as a loved child. Rest in His love as a prelude to receiving His best.
If you are ready to be challenged to a new way of thinking about prayer and perhaps a new way of looking at the Christ-followers life, try this out. Prepare to begin a new journey.
Nothing has helped me more in my relationship with Father than the realization that relational prayer must always come before asking prayer. Relate and then request. Enjoy God and then enjoy His provisions, whatever they are….