Come to Jesus (some thoughts and a recommendation)

Confession time: I struggle with prayer.

If I'm convicted of anything on a regular basis, it's my lack of consistent persistence in approaching my Heavenly Father through prayer.

Thousands of words have been written on the purpose of prayer and its role in the believer's life. I understand that, while God is sovereign, prayer is an exercise of faith that ultimately changes my heart to desire His will, not mine. I have also, been trying to use prayer as a first line of defense in counseling and church ministry. In other words, instead of giving my advice first and offering prayer as a parting benediction to our time together, I have been stopping conversations to pray for God's guidance and strength right then and there.

I am writing this short post, however, to focus on one small reason that I think my desire to commune with God in prayer is so often dampened.

My prayer life is small because my view of God is small.

My mind reduces Him to something similar to a guard who oversees the requests I send His way. If they are selfless and humble enough, they may be approved. Otherwise He stamps "DENIED" because He knows my request isn't ultimately good for my life. Then on to the next one.....

I realize that this view of the Sovereign of the universe is completely inaccurate, but it wasn't until I was reading in Romans 8 (yes, that chapter again) that I understood a bit more of His character. Paul explains that it is entirely normal to be confused about what to pray and the Spirit acts as our translator even when we can't find the words to express our heart's deepest desire (vs. 26). Notice this beautiful truth in the next verse (vs. 27), however.....

And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 

The interceding Spirit brings my requests to the Father and somehow lines them up perfectly with the best will for my life because the Holy Spirit IS God therefore He knows the mind of God. Even the "no" I might receive to one of my prayers is because it has been exactly aligned with His sovereign plan and my current situation (no matter how uncomfortable) is good, loving, and his BEST for me. 

It's funny how God likes to remind us of truths from many different angles. Along with my study in Romans, I have also recently read a new book entitled, Come to Jesus (available on February 19) from one of my favorite bloggers, Christa Threlfall. She asks the question, "What would your relationship with God look like if you took every difficulty in your day today and brought it to his feet?"

She shares several personal stories throughout the book, each one sharing the struggle she experienced to truly "come to Jesus" and how each trial started to develop in her a deeper desire to run to Him with everything she faces.
I especially liked the section on how to find rest in God during particularly stressful seasons of life. She reminds the reader to stop to abide in Christ and gives ideas of how to practically pull that off with little ones around during every waking moment.
No matter what season of life you find yourself in, you will find a gentle reminder to run back to the One who can hold all of your fear and failure. I finished the book in a short amount of time which is helpful with my full schedule, but was left with long term truths to weave into my everyday living.

When I am gripped with the truths of who my God truly is, I am motivated to run to Him more regularly. When I understand His compassion, I can trust him with the details of my life. And when I remember that  true rest is only found in Jesus, I will desire to come to Him every day.

Order your own copy of Come to Jesus on Amazon.