Blog 365 · Whispers of Faith

5 Ways to a More Captivating Prayer Life {Part 4 of 5}

For the previous three sections to this series, please see the links in the sidebar.

IV. Challenging Our Minds to Think Deeper
In the last post, I talked about how both our affections and our intellect must be richly stirred in our prayers and our worship. As that post was about cultivating our affections, we turn in this post to cultivating our intellect in worship.

God is the Creator of both our hearts and our minds – of our emotions and our knowledge. He desires for both to be intertwined when it comes to our worship of Him.

John 4:24 says, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” Our spirits must be engaged in our prayers, but so also must our minds.

If we don’t ever learn more about the attributes of God, how then will our affections be stirred by them? Once again, this goes back to getting to know someone – we could just stop at admiring their outward, physical attraction, but that’s a pretty shallow relationship if all you ever did was say to each other, “You’re so beautiful.” Yes, but what else?

God is beautiful to behold, but the reasons why are limitless. And this is where we must become good students of who God is. We must be committed to studying His Word to find out more about who He is, reading good books about the character of God, and listening to excellent teaching about Him.

The more we learn about Him, the more we will absorb about His character until it becomes a natural response to breathe prayers to Him throughout the day extoling parts of His character – such as,

“God what a beautiful artist you are to not only make the sun in the sky functional to keep us warm, but also to dazzle us with natural paintings when it sets in the evening.”

Or “God, thank You for establishing Your church here on earth that I may have a place to go and not feel alone. Thank You that Your design for Your people is for them to live in community for You are the author of family.”

As a teacher, I am constantly in awe of the process of learning, and I rejoice that God gave us minds that delight in discovering new things. How dull it would be to be like animals who just do the same thing over and over again and can’t increase their understanding of their lives or the world around them!

So given that gift of knowledge, it would be doing our Creator a great disservice if we didn’t use it to grow in our understanding of Him. If you don’t take the time to get to know who God is, then it’s revealing once again the priority (or lack thereof) that you place on your relationship with Him.

This last February our college group began a study on the book of John. Taking the time to actually study & go deeper into God’s Word does the most good for deepening our intellect about who God is, but not only that, meditating on the “I Am” statements from John and praying them back to God has proved incredibly comforting to my heart. If I’m plagued by worries or fears at night before I fall asleep, praying back those “I Am” statements addresses all of those fears –

“Jesus, You are the Bread of Life – You provide for every single need I have, physical and spiritual. I never have to go hungry when I have you to turn to. You are the Good Shepherd – You lead me beside still waters and through green pastures. With my eyes fixed on Your rod and staff, I know that I don’t have to fear the curves in the pathway ahead. You are the Light of the World – You dispel the darkness of discouragement that closes in around me & You reveal the safety of Your presence.”

Finally, find some of the best books about the attributes of God and commit to reading at least one in the coming months (you knew that I, as the reader, was going to suggest that next!). Even if you think you can’t because you’re too busy, you can always find a few moments to squeeze a couple pages in (over breakfast or dinner, instead of watching a Netflix episode, before you go to bed, while you’re waiting for an appointment).

Just about any book by John MacArthur will further your knowledge of God as will these books by John Piper: Desiring God (that’s a long one, but worth it!), Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ (shorter one & easy to digest), God’s Passion for His Glory, and Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God – which actually goes into way more detail about this very point – the review of it says, “Readers will be reminded that ‘the mind serves to know the truth that fuels the fires of the heart.”

The deeper we force our minds to go about the unfathomable Creator, the stronger our convictions and affections for Him will become.

This is the pathway of falling more in love with Him every day.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the last installment – “Charting His Attributes”!

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