Prayer is about connecting with God. It's our connection with Him--the link, the open line.
Prayer is also a powerful connector. It helps us to connect in three ways: with God, with one another, and with God’s purpose for our lives.
Prayer is about connecting with God. Prayer is our connection with God; it’s the link, the open line. The problem many of us face is that oftentimes there is so much on our minds that when we go to prayer, we rush to petition, waving the shopping list of things we need God to do for us and for others.
As people enter the prayer room of Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, they see the “God wall” on the opposite side. A cross is positioned before it, and printed on the wall is Psalm 145:18, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
Prayer room partners who choose to take a “prayer journey” are encouraged to begin by focusing on God—where we always should begin our prayers. The God wall is a reminder to slow down, to take time to reflect on His presence, His nearness, His goodness, mercy, love, grace, favor—all of the marvelous attributes that make Him God. It is taking time to “be still and know that He is God” (see Psalm 46:10) and appreciate whom we are addressing. No doubt, in our rushing to petition, God strains to hear words like, “I love You, I worship You, I adore You, I magnify Your name, You alone are worthy of praise and adoration!” He longs to hear that! As we sincerely bless His name and give Him the honor due Him, He is pleased to hear our petition and to grant us His favor.
Scripture presents an intriguing and important phrase relating to our approach to God in prayer. One place the phrase is found is in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (emphasis added). Psalm 105:4 also carries this instruction, “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always” (emphasis added). What does it mean to “seek God’s face”?
In Scripture, the mention of the face of God is a reference to His manifest presence. Genesis 32:30 tells us that Jacob saw God’s face, and called the place Peniel which means “the face of God.” Interestingly, the Hebrew term for the “bread of the Presence” (Exodus 25:30) that was kept in the Old Testament tabernacle could also be translated “bread of the face.” It was symbolic of God’s presence.
“Seeking God’s face” means that we desire to have audience with God, to enter His presence. It is more than casualness or familiarity. When we are invited in Hebrews 4:16 to boldly or confidently enter God’s presence, we must understand the God we are approaching—and ascribe to Him the honor, glory, and praise due His holy name. How casual and even demanding we sometimes can be. We must take care that we not cause God to turn His face away from us through these sins, but through sincere praise and adoration cause Him to turn His face toward us. For as His face is turned toward us, we have His attention and He is attentive to our heart’s cry.
When our son John was a small boy, his mother needed to give him some instruction, as mothers must often do. Occasionally, however, she could tell that the message was not getting through. His active mind was elsewhere. So at times, after repeating the instructions over and over to no avail, she would take his little face in her hands and turn his face toward hers, lock eyes, and repeat the instruction. She knew then that he had heard.
Far be it from me to suggest that we mere mortals can take the face of God in our hands and demand His undivided attention, but perhaps there is at least some parallel. When we approach God with intentionality and sincerity in our praise and adoration to Him, and as we move from there to voice our petitions—sometimes with great intensity—there comes a sense deep within our hearts that we truly have entered into God’s presence and that He hears us. As we continue in prayer and linger in His presence, we sense that we have laid hold upon Him, His face has turned toward us, and our eyes spiritually have locked with His. Deep inside we know that He understands our need and will respond according to His sovereign purposes. We have that assurance because there is a release, a lifting of the burden we are carrying as His face turns toward us in response to our cry. We have connected with God!