Prayer—you either yearn for the connection, or you struggle with your relationship with God. It is just as important to set the tone and place of our prayer life, as it is our hearts. The prophets and early apostles and those before us in the faith, were of a generation that understood holiness, and also revered God for who He was, is, and always will be. They lived in turmoil, desperation, persecution, and martyrdom, and through it they displayed character and integrity with their prayer life.
The Scriptures show us men like Daniel, who when forced by decree to not pray, revealed to humanity that his faith in God was greater than any human law (Dan 6:10). The Apostles did the same, praying in the same Temple, day after day, with those who put Christ to death (Acts 3:1). And now, it seems, that it is not the time of our fathers, but it is the time of our generation. We are now on the world stage, exposed to the depths of darkness and despair, displaying what it means to be salt and light—to be slaughtered, and yet, remain steadfast as conquering sheep (Rom 8:37)—victorious in Christ.
Without prayer, our generation will surely be faced with the onslaught of evil and human depravity all alone—our brothers and sisters need to know that we stand in unity—we will pray for their suffering.
So, let’s delve into three ways to assist you in a productive and powerful prayer life.
1. Quiet Spaces
Sometimes we neglect the productivity of being in silence. Assuredly, as followers of Christ, we are heard in any time or place, but it is interesting that Jesus said to find your “prayer closet” (Matt 6:6); a safe haven away from the world and away from displaying our prideful hearts for others to see.
While the context of Matthew 6:6 is pride, we can certainly apply it to the example of Christ, “He went up on the mountain by himself to pray” (Matt 14: 23). Find your quiet space, a place where you and God can connect with no distractions. And then remember why you are there—to lay before the King of Creation the needs of a needy people and a heart that wants to serve Him.
2. Kneeling in Prayer
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father.” ~ (Eph 3:14 ESV)
I was once asked by my daughter, who was 10 years old at the time, “Daddy, why do we have to kneel when we pray?” I remember the conversation vividly, and still adhere to what I answered back then—it’s out of holy reverence.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, he expressed how he was called out of the dark depths of bondage and into the light of Christ’s kingdom to preach the gospel—“Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power” (Eph 3:7 ESV), but Paul also suffered for the gospel. “So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory” (Eph 3:13 ESV).
There is power on your knees, but as Abraham Lincoln said, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.” Paul was kneeling before God to pray for his brothers and sisters. When we come into the holy presence of God, which we have been given access to share in His holiness (Heb 12:10), we do so with a heart rendered in reverence and with the purity of Christ. For this reason, Paul explains that his routine was to kneel in prayer.
It is common knowledge that James the Apostle, the half-brother of Jesus, was known as “camel knees” for his constant kneeling on the hard marble, in prayer. While, perhaps, God does not hear us better one way or the other, it does show a heart that understands holiness and a healthy fear of being created. Before you begin your prayer, make sure your posture is right—a humble servant heart bows before a King.
3. The Language of Our Prayers
God does not hear us because of our words or our lengthy prayers; however, God does hear our language. We can display our language through either silence or speech. If in speech, just make your words, honest and simple—out of your own heart. Although, sometimes just being in the presence of God is good enough.
Once we’re in a state of hearing God—that’s when the beauty of His majesty reigns in our hearts. We expose the nakedness of our soul and allow Him to work within the depths of our nether regions. Sometimes it is better to be without words, as Paul stated, “For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (2 Cor 5:2 ESV).
The groanings of our heart display to a loving Creator that we yearn for His presence and His divine will. Groaning is a language. It is a language of the heart—illustrating desperate times and vulnerability. We ought to listen to our soul that longs to connect with God’s Holy Spirit. So, whether in silence or speech, keep your language focused on Christ and your heart will follow.
In all things, remember the saints in your prayers, place them first before the Almighty and note that one day, it may be you. Amen.