Blog 365 · Whispers of Faith

5 Ways to a More Captivating Prayer Life {Part 3 of 5}

If you are just now joining in this series, you can read Parts 1 & 2 by clicking on the links in the sidebar.

III. Cherishing the One to Whom We Pray
Once we have chosen to become disciplined in our prayer life, and we’ve re-evaluated our heart motivations for prayer, we then come to the very heart of what we’re doing – and the first thing is – do we actually cherish the One to whom we are praying? Do our hearts get excited about meeting with our Heavenly Father? Do we long to commune with Him like we do a best friend? Are we eager to fall to our knees and worship Him? If not, this goes back to not truly understanding the One to whom we are praying.

What we must remember is that both our affections and our intellect must be stirred richly in our prayer time.

Affections must be cultivated over time. The more you get to know someone and discover things about them that are similar to you, the greater your affections will grow for them. Certainly you can affirm this if you stop to think about every friendship or romantic relationship you’ve had. You delight in the other person because of who they are intrinsically. And you only know them intrinsically because you’ve taken the time to get to know and value them.

Similarly, our affections must be grown for our Heavenly Father. It is incredibly easy to go years and years with a lot of head knowledge about God – to be intellectually smart about who He is and His attributes – and never actually value and cherish those attributes as something dear to your heart.

So how does one cultivate such affections for a Being they cannot see, touch, or hear? By getting to know Him intimately through His Word which He’s revealed to us. One practical such way is through charting His attributes which we’ll come to at the end, but another way is by singing hymns – yes, even when you’re not in church! The hymn writers of long ago – they knew what it was like to have their affections stirred by their Maker – and they demonstrated that so eloquently through their poetic verses:

“Jesus! The name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease, ‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears, ‘Tis life and health and peace.”

When you feel like your own words are inadequate and you’re not sure where to start, start with the words of others (hymn-writers) who were able to articulate profound truths about God in a beautiful manner.

Obviously hymns are not Scripture (although they often use Scripture in them), but I find that they do wonders for me in wrapping my affections more tightly around the One to whom I am praising. So find time to weave in a hymn or two – while you’re getting ready in the morning, before you go to sleep, while you’re driving somewhere – and see if it starts pointing your affections back toward Christ. Even better, if you have children (or will someday), teach them the joy of singing hymns throughout your day. Some of the hymns I know best are ones my mother sung with me when I was a small child.

Most importantly, though, you will grow in your affections for the Creator by simply praying His attributes back to Him. I would start by choosing just one attribute – His faithfulness, for example – and lingering on that in prayer.

“God, You are so faithful in all that You do. You are faithful to fulfill promises, You are faithful to provide for my every need, and You are faithful even when I am not – especially when I am not.”

How could you pray such a thing and not love Him even more for His faithfulness? That would be like a husband praising His wife’s beauty but not genuinely feeling love in his heart towards her while doing so – lip service without the meaning behind it – and we all know how the wife would feel if that were the case!

Every day, choose a different attribute to focus on, and simply meditate on it in prayer throughout the day. Here’s a few simple ways to do so (it forms an acronym simply for the sake of remembering the letters, but I hope that it won’t become a “rote” requirement that you feel you must follow every day – just a method to use to help cultivate our affections toward Christ):

Remember – remember all the ways that God has demonstrated that attribute in the past – either in your own life or in the lives of people in the Bible. God, You were so faithful in leading me to this stage in my life. You have been so faithful to continuously lead me to grow in my walk with You every day.

Enjoy – dwell on the beauties of that attribute – think about the implications of it and how it has impacted your life. God, how beautiful is Your faithfulness. When others fail or let me down, You never do. You are the only one on whom I can always rely. You never give up on your children – you pursue with a relentless love because You are the faithful husband even when we are the faithless harlots.

Notice – notice evidences of that attribute throughout your day and give credit to God when you do. God, You are faithful even in the smallest of areas in my life. You were faithful today to keep me going when I felt spent and exhausted.

Thank – thank God for that attribute and what it’s been to you in your life. God, thank You for showing me what it looks like to be faithful. Thank You that I never have to doubt or question You because I know You are constant and unchanging.

As you take the time to actually meditate on the various attributes of God (which are endless!), you will notice your heart becoming more and more in tune with His. He is everything we will ever need – and when we dwell on this in prayer, we will cherish our Heavenly Father more than ever before.

Read on tomorrow for how our intellect might be stirred in our prayer time with “Challenging Our Minds to Think Deeper about Christ.”

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