Where Prayer Begins
What do you think God is like? If you have a hard time coming up with answers to that question, you might want to first look at your prayers because how you pray reveals how you see God. If all you do is ask God to grant your wants and desires, you’re probably viewing Him like some kind of magic genie. If you always approach Him with an attitude of shame and worthlessness over your mistakes, you might be viewing Him as graceless and unforgiving. And if you don’t spend any time praying, it’s probably because you don’t think He’s listening at all.
However, when you do have a correct view of God, you can praise Him for who He is, enter through the door to His presence and live a lifestyle of dynamic prayer. Psalm 100 makes this clear when it tells us to “enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4). Praise is the key to entering into God’s presence. And since prayer is an act of coming before the Lord and spending time in His presence, praise is also the key to prayer.
Jesus showed us this in the Lord’s Prayer. He started and ended the prayer with statements of praise and worship: Matthew 6:9 starts with “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name,” and verse 13 closes the prayer with, “Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Praise and prayer are connected and intertwined; they cannot be separated from one another. Praise and worship prepare our hearts to communicate with and hear from God through prayer.
Hebrews 4:16 (NLT) tells us to “boldly approach the throne of our gracious God.” Are you boldly approaching the throne through prayer? Do you pray like someone who actually knows God on a close personal level? If not, try making praise the foundation of your prayers.
But before you can truly praise God, you have to first know who He is and what He is like. After the psalmist instructs us to “go into His courts with praise” in verse 4 of Psalm 100, he tells us why in verse 5: “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Why is the author of Psalm 100 praising God? Because he knows God is good! He knows God’s love never quits. He is confident that God is forever faithful. Are you?
When praying feels like a struggle, or even impossible, focus on who God is. Remember that He loves you. Remember that He sent His Son to die for you. Look at all the things He’s done for you personally (many psalms talk about reflecting on how the Lord has blessed you in the past to remind you of His goodness). Spend time thinking of Him and of everything good that comes from Him. When you get a revelation in your heart of who God is, you won’t be able to contain your praise. It will naturally spill over from a heart of gratitude. And as you thank Him and praise Him, you can enter His presence with joy and pray truthfully. Start your prayers with praise and worship and go boldly before His throne in prayer!
It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men.
~ C.S. Lewis
Lord, I know that You are so good. Your love lasts forever. You have saved me and done so many good things for me that I cannot help but praise You. May my prayers to You sit on a foundation of praise and worship. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- Read the Psalms. Find one or two that speak to you and speak them audibly as part of your prayers.
- Before you pray, put on your favorite worship music and spend time simply praising Him.
- Write down a list of things God has done for you in the past and thank Him.
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 1 Timothy 2:1–2 (NLT)