God is AWEsome, he is AWEful. And we usually don’t approach him with the reverence we should. In fact typically we’re rather informal and even flippant when we approach God.
I bet we often pray like this:
Hey God, thank you for the blessings today. Please help Aunt Bessie with her bursitis. Help me with the big project coming. Thanks much. In Christ’s name, amen.
Now, I’m not trying to say that we should be all formal and stilted in our prayer either. I can just hear that.
Oh heavenly Father, I thank thee for all thy blessings. Um, I pray for the suffering in the world, that thy would care for them. … Er, I thank thee for the success of my project at work. Well, In Christ’s name, amen.
Oy, not very real. One sided, not expecting a response, and really not sincere. Very self-aware though. It would sound beautiful in front of a certain group of Christians.
Lately I’ve been praying the Lord’s Prayer multiple times a day. And I’ve been doing it slowly. Think about how it starts.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
I tend to stop here and pray this same thing in a few different ways.
Oh yes Father, that your name would be glorified in all the nations. That people would recognize you and glorify you. That I would glorify you in all that tI do.
Back to the prayer
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
I pray some more. Oh Father, I do pray that your will would be done. Guide me so that I do your will today. I pray the nations will turn and do your will. Oh come, Jesus come!
And that’s just the first line! The rest of the Lord’s prayer has so much in it.
Sometimes, we need to become speechless. Sometimes in our prayers we need to meditate instead of talking. I’ll be praying and then stop and think about Christ on the cross. This always makes me cry, I admit. I think this is one of the things that the movie The Passion of the Christ did for people. It showed the raw pain, agony, and suffering of Christ. Especially the physical side of things.
Christ died an ugly and agonizing death for us.
The worst part can’t even be shown physically. He bore the wrath of God for all of our sins.
All of my sins.
All of your sins.
How can you not weep when you think of that. The grace and mercy of that. The pain and agony and fear and trembling and terror of that. Christ did that for us. He knowingly went to that cross. He prayed that the cup be removed. As a human he was overwhelmed at the thought of what was coming. But he was the God-man. He knew that he had to do this for us. It was the plan from the beginning when Eve and Adam sinned against God. He had to crush the serpent’s head. And he did!
And we benefit. For no reason except that God chose us.
He chose me.
He chose you.
How do we respond to that gift? Sometime it is just speechless gratitude. The Holy Spirit has to pray for me with groanings. It is too great for me to grasp. Too wonderful for me to truly appreciate.
God is holy His justice had to be satisfied. But he is also tender and loving and full of grace and mercy. His justice makes all of that even richer and more precious. I know some people struggle reading the Old Testament because God seems to be a wrathful God. But if you pay attention, he keeps wooing Israel back. He is full of grace and mercy on every page of the Old Testament. It is Israel that is hard hearted and turns away from Him again and again. They don’t pray to Him, they don’t offer sacrifices of a contrite heart to Him.
But some did. The book of Psalms is a great place to go to find good prayers to God. Feel free to use them, that’s why they are there. You don’t always have to come up with original prayers. You can borrow some of the best in the world. And maybe, while praying a Psalm, you stop and expand on it in your own words the way I demonstrated with the Lord’s Prayer. Maybe you stop altogether, speechless in the face of this AWEsome God. That’s okay, too. The Holy Spirit appreciates those times. God recognizes your heart feelings and is glorified when you stop in awe.
Pray as to a friend, but stop and recognize the transcendence of this friend. He is holy. He is not a vending machine. He is real, He is alive. He is waiting to hear your prayers. He loves to be with you. Turn to Him. Whether you pray to God, to the Father, to the Son, or even the Holy Spirit, He hears you. Sometimes we find ourselves praying to the Father and the Son in the same prayer. That’s okay too. The message gets through, the communion of spirits happens. Just love Him. Love what He has done for you. And rejoice that He wants to hear from you. He chose you specifically to be in union with Him. Rejoice!