To download the slides for this message, click – HERE

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most

Disclaimer: Let’s Define Some Terms

As we discovered in Part One of How to Experience God When You Pray— when we talk about experiencing God in prayer, we are specifically defining prayer as more than a monologue, but something even deeper.  It is a true, two-way conversation with God, where you speak, and He listens, and He speaks, and you hear His voice.  Then, as the abundant life revealed (John 10:10), we rinse and repeat, as often as we like, and grow in our relationship with Him through a true conversation in prayer.  Nothing is greater than having God personally speak into your life.  And your prayer life and intimacy with God will be completely revolutionized when you experience His presence when you pray.

In this post, we will examine some ways to prepare ourselves to experience God when we pray.

Our Preparation for Prayer

When you went on your first date with the person who later became your spouse, do you remember the preparation you made to meet with the person you wanted to build a relationship with?  I do.  I remember it was very important for me to make a good first impression.  Why?  Well, to do otherwise was failure— and nobody wants to fail on a first date.

So I dressed in some reasonably nice clothes, or at least what was clean and didn’t smell too bad.  Granted, it was not my Sunday Best, but it was the best I had for a first date.  I made sure I brushed my teeth, ran a comb through my hair, forcefully tamed any unruly eyebrow hairs, and tried to bring out the best of me when I was meeting Karen.  And why wouldn’t I?  After all, I was enamored with this woman, totally smitten, or as the owl said in Bambi, twitterpated.  I wanted to build a long-term relationship with her and hopefully, someday, maybe, if I got really lucky and won the lottery, make her my wife.

So preparation was important— really important.  Because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Preparing to Enter His Presence

And if this is true about a first date, how much more is it true about entering into the presence of God in prayer?  This means that when we pray, when we desire to have a direct, personal conversation with the Creator of the Universe— when we speak to the Almighty and expect to be heard and then expect Him to stoop to our level and respond, there must be some prior preparation that takes place.  After all, we take the time to update our resume and try to look our best and learn about the company before we sit down for a job interview, don’t we?  And we would never go to our childhood friend’s wedding in the same clothes we wore while mowing the yard, would we?  And most certainly, we brush our teeth, sometimes twice, before sitting in the dentist’s chair.  So if we make preparations before these events, how much more before we bow our heads in prayer?

Let me list three steps we need to do before boldly entering into His presence in prayer.  But be warned, each of these is vital for experiencing Him when you pray.

First, We Must Prepare Our Hearts to Meet With Him

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, (why) for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8), which is exactly what we are hoping to accomplish through prayer.  We want to experience His presence— and that begins with preparing our hearts before Him.  Since God is holy, we must make ourselves as holy as we can by confessing our sins and asking for His forgiveness (1 John 1:9).  This way, we can come to Him as He requires, with “clean hands and pure heart” (Psalm 24:4).  We must also search our heart and forgive those who have hurt us as He, in the same manner, has forgiven us who have sinned against Him (Matt. 6:14-15).  And we must surrender all self-will and independence to Him by freely and voluntarily presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice, one that He finds “holy and acceptable” (Rom. 12:1).  This allows the Spirit to renew our minds and align our desires more according to His will (1 John 5:14-15), which is vital to having your prayers answered.

Next, We Enter His Presence, His Way

The Scriptures give us clear instructions on how we are to enter into His presence, and we would be wise to follow what it commands.  Psalm 100:4 says, for example, as we come to God in prayer, we are to enter His presence with praise, worship and thanksgiving, focusing on His character, His mighty works, and His unmatched worthiness.  This is one way we “bless His name,” as the Psalm requires.  We must recognize who He is and who we are and then, once again, surrender control of our lives to Him as we strive to get our eyes off ourselves and onto Him.  We then wait in stillness before Him, opening our spiritual senses in eager expectation of His presence in a way that fills us with supernatural peace (Phil. 4:6-7), joy (Psalm 16:11), and spiritual strength (Isa 40:31).  There is truly nothing like it this side of heaven.

Finally, the Good Stuff— a Two-Way Conversation

If we prepare ourselves to meet with Him, prayer then becomes a two-way conversation and not a one-sided monologue.  We speak to Him, and we listen for His still, small voice to speak to us in return (1 Kings 19:11-13).  Or maybe He chooses to speak to us in something other than a still, small voice, which is sometimes frightening (Ex. 19).  No matter.  He can do what He wants, and we just marvel that He is willing, and we are able, to communicate with the Creator of All.  We make our requests known to Him as our loving Father (Matt. 6:8, 7:7-11), while having the freedom to express our thoughts and emotions honestly (Ps. 62:8), knowing there is no condemnation in Him (Rom. 8:1).  We can ask for insight into His Word and receive revelation by the Spirit (John 16:13-15), as we wait patiently for Him to speak to our inner being about the concerns on our hearts.  This is what prayer is all about, a two-way communion with God that fuels our love for Him and puts our faith on steroids.  And this is an experience you can have when you pray— personally hearing from God and then responding accordingly.

Some Final Thoughts

In closing, let me list just a few final points to help us experience God when we pray.

One, Learn to Make Jesus-Centered Petitions

After aligning our own hearts with the Father in worship and two-way conversation, we’re now ready to intercede for others.  As we lift up people and circumstances to Him by name, we base our petitions on the finished work of Jesus on the cross, which secures our relationship with the Father, and on the Father’s will, and not on what we think needs to happen.  We ask in faith according to His will (1 John 5:14-15), with confidence in His compassion and power to always do what is right, even when we can’t see it at the present time (Rom. 8:28).  We pray His Word, and we pray according to His Word, which always accomplishes His purposes (Isa. 55:11).  And this fact alone gives us profound trust to intercede to our Father for those we love, and then leave the results in His capable and loving hands.  If you learn to approach God this way, you will never be disappointed.  His timing is always perfect.

Two, Come to Him in Child-like Boldness

Jesus said He would answer prayers asked “in My name” (John 16:23-24).  To pray in the name of Jesus means to come before our Father with the full authority Jesus has given us as children of God.  Just as a child asks something of their loving father based on their loving relationship rather than merit, we can now boldly approach God’s throne of grace in full assurance of His love and acceptance (Heb. 4:16), no matter what.  So as we grow in intimacy with Him and in our understanding of His love and delight over us as His children, we will gain confidence to ask Him for anything and everything on our hearts.  And while God delights to give us the desires of our hearts (Ps. 37:4), He also lovingly gives us what He knows is best when our desires don’t align with His greater plans, which, unfortunately, often happens.  And so, as we trust Him fully in child-like dependence, He fills us with His peace and joy in the midst of every circumstance— no matter how unpleasant that circumstance may be at the time.

Three, Learn to Stay Connected

Finally, remember that God designed prayer for continual connection and communion with Him because He longs for a relationship with us.  As we learn to pray with a clean heart, enter His presence in worship, listen for His voice in a two-way conversation, intercede in Jesus’ name for others, and come to Him with child-like boldness, we will experience His presence in ways that transform our everyday lives.  It is a given. Our job is to simply stay connected to the Vine, which is Christ, and let Him take care of everything else (John 15).  And prayer is His designed way to keep us connected to our Father.

But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself.  Take some time to prepare yourself before you pray, and see if God doesn’t reward your diligence with a renewed infilling of His Spirit and the joy of His presence.  You will then begin to experience God when you pray, which is nothing short of heaven on earth.

Go on, give it a try.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most