I meet many people who say that they don’t know what to pray. In fact, I have been that person. I mean,it’s easy to say get into the prayer closet and let the Lord use you, but it takes time to understand how to flow in the Spirit. Many people have every intent of being a regular in the prayer department, but have no confidence when they go before the Lord. When you find yourself with no idea of what to say or how to say it to Him,it can be so overwhelming and then you end up feeling useless and unworthy to even try. However, God is faithful. He is not a dictator who is waiting on you to use a magic combination of verbiage in order to summon Him.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.Psalm 100:4
I have heard this bible verse in popular church songs and have never really known what it meant entirely. However, it is a teaching that will change your life when it comes to prayer. Imagine if you will, coming to the temple of God. When you come into the temple, visualize a gate surrounding it. As you come into the gate, you would enter it with thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is simply thanking God for who He is and all that He has done. It is getting to a place where you recall all the prayers that have been answered. It is great to think about the times that He has saved you from making detrimental choices and doing harmful actions. It is about thanking Him for what He has done for others in your life. When you begin in your prayer closet time, this is what you should do. Thank God for everything. Take your time and think about those moments where you didn’t know where your next dime would come from and God helped you. Think about times when you didn’t think that you would make it through that heartbreak, but God helped you. Perhaps it’s the time that you went to the doctor who sadly gave you bad news but God turned it around for you. Think about those things and begin to thank God for helping you to come through time and time again. This will be a good way to start the conversation with God and you will find it easy to come up with many memories of God’s mercy and grace towards you and your loved ones.
The verse also says that we should enter His courts with praise. This is past the gate and into the courts outside the temple. As you get into thanking God for all that He has done, you want to move into the next part of your prayers which is praise. Oxford definition of praise is express warm approval or admiration of. Thanking God for what He has done leads you into praising Him for who He is. Some people struggle with this part because they don’t know who God is. I mean we know vague expressions of Him being our Lord and our Master but you don’t really know how to express that in the form of praise. One thing I have learned is that what He has done is because of who He is. He has been faithful because He is faithful. He has been merciful because He is merciful. He has been loving because He is love. Looking at His actions towards you and those around you will help you to understand who He is. This is important because people sometimes tend to think that God did this or that in their life because somewhere in going to church or doing good deeds or having good intentions, God blessed you because of those actions. Nonetheless, He has no respect of persons. He will do the same for all because He loves us all the same. Kirk Franklin doesn’t have better access to God than you do. He doesn’t think any more of T.D. Jakes than He does of anybody else. So His love and faithfulness is true to all. It’s who He is. During this time, you can praise freely and allow the love of God to permeate through your being. This is where your faith will kick in.
In the promised land, the tribe of Judah is translated to praise. They camped on the east side of the ark of the covenant. Their brother tribe, Ruben which is translated to faith was near them. This truth reveals that in order to get faith, you must have praise as well. During your time in your prayer closet that you begin to praise God, you will find that your faith in the assurance of overcoming any obstacle will increase. You will feel sure that you are going to come out of whatever situation you find yourself in. You may even find yourself praising Him for victory in your current situation even before you have physical proof that it will in fact happen. During this time you will feel as if a weight has lifted off of your shoulder. The worries will begin to fade away and all that you will have left is the feeling that God is good. This is an awesome feeling and one that your soul will begin to crave more and more as you make this beautiful habit a part of your everyday life.
Beyond the praise and thanksgiving is His presence. It is so surreal that I am almost unable to find words to describe it. However, once you are there, you will not want to ever leave that place again. It is here that you can be honest with God about things that you are up against. You can share with God your frustrations and your fears. You can petition God for those people around you who you know need His help. You can ask God to even reveal more of Himself to you. Just know that whatever you need and ask for He will answer and He is faithful to His word. There are so many bible verses that reassure you of that fact. Just remember to not try to do vain repetitious prayers during this time. Whatever you say to Him should be genuine and from the heart. He is a living God who already knows what we have need of before we ask but because He loves us, He wants us to spend time talking to Him about these things.
Trust that God will meet you in your prayer closet and commune with you during this time. He is ready and willing and able to help you in whatever you need. Nothing is too big or too small for Him. Everything is in God’s dominion.
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