Praying for Comfort and Pleasure
For most people, our prayer life has become pursuing comfort, pursuing peace, pursuing the pleasure of the Lord. Comfort and pleasure are Biblical concepts. God is the One who designed pleasure; He is the One who designed comfort.
He is the One who made us to be able to rest in Him. I am accepted in the Beloved, and He delights in me. I am His treasure; I am the apple of His eye. All of these things are absolutely and 100% true.
But, what happens when we distort our pursuit of comfort, we sacrifice having a lifestyle of impacting prayer.
Prayers That Make an Impact
There are prayers of fellowship with the Lord, which is refreshing, reassuring, building hope, building faith, but the Apostle Paul taught at one point about prayer being likened unto giving birth. He actually said that I am in labor for you until Christ is formed in you. And, his context for that was in prayer.
So think about this. This is an awkward subject, but it is the intensity of prayer. And, for those that only pursue a relationship with God of comfort and pleasure will never know the kind of prayer that moves mountains.
You have to be able to feel the grief of the Lord, the pain of the situation. As parents, we know what that is to be in a painful situation with our children. But, here is the vital thing, as we come before the Lord, we pray until it is lifted… until there is that sense of breakthrough.
My Grandfather’s Example of Prayer
My brother is 10 years younger than I am – Bob or Bobby at that time. When he was 11 months old, he was very, very near death. In fact the doctors said he was within 12 hours of dying. At that time my mom’s parents lived with us, in fact for a good part of my growing up years.
In that season, I remember my grandfather going to his knees. I can still see the place where he knelt in front of our couch in the living room. He was there for an extended period of time praying.
You see my grandparents also lost a child at 11 months old. This whole thing flashes back on them.
He dug his heels in, if you will – in the place of prayer. He knelt before that couch and began to pray and intercede. As a kid I didn’t know all that he was doing or experiencing. I knew he was praying and I knew that Bobby was in serious trouble. But, I didn’t get then what I get now.
He dug into that crisis that we were facing as a family and he prayed. He was there for hours. And, I remember when he got up. If I remember correctly, it was about 2:00 in the afternoon. He got up off his knees and turned to the family and said, “Bobby will be OK.”
The Power of Persistent Prayer
Why? Because he had to fight. The fight is not with people. The fight is with the powers of darkness that kills, steals, and destroys.
So often we blame so many other people for what is going on. But, he dug his heels into the ground, if you will. And, he contended with that thing until it was broken. And then turned to the family and said, “Bobby will be OK.”
My parents, when they got back to the hospital that afternoon, the doctors said in so many words, “There has been a very interesting turnaround since about 2:00 this afternoon.”
That was when grandpa got up and said, “Bobby will be OK.”
Our prayer life reveals how conscious we are of the God who is with us.
Prayers That Move Mountains
You see, there is something about prayer that moves mountains. It means I am not looking for a life of pleasure and comfort only. I am looking to make a difference. And, to make a difference, I am going to dig my heels in, and I am going to content for a breakthrough. Because a breakthrough must come.
The problem happens for many, as they feel that burden of the Lord, they never give it to Him. So, they walk around as depressed people. Looks like they have been baptized in pickle juice. They just have no joy about them. That’s not the answer either. Trying to prove how holy I am by how depressed I am. That is anti the whole point we are making here.
We are to pray unto something. Prayer is supposed to be a moment of exchange. That moment sometimes lasts for days… sometimes just for moments. Read Nehemiah’s prayers. One sentence prayers that moved mountains.
But, you see if the prayer doesn’t move me, it is not likely to move Him.
Prayer Is Meant to be an Exchange
So, here is the moment in prayer where we come before the Lord. Jesus says Himself, “come to Me, you who are weary and heavy laden.” There are a lot of folks who are weary and heavy laden. Heavy why? Maybe it’s because of the Corona virus. Maybe it’s the racial conflict. Maybe it’s something different, like the business you lost during this thing. Maybe it’s that you don’t know what you will do when you are able to get back to work. It can be an endless number of things. Many people are weary and heavy laden. Jesus speaks to you.
He says come to Me you who are weary and heavy laden.
Step one, we have to know who to go to. We go to Him. We don’t go to Him plus this other person, this person, this person… He is not something I try. He is not on trial; we are.
I go to Him. But, I go to Him to make an exchange. So, Jesus said, come to Me, you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.
Think about it. You come to Me with your stuff, and I will give you My stuff. Let’s make the exchange.
Prayer is Seeing God As Your Source of Life
As I have told so many of you, so many times over the years, if you walk into the presence of God heavy burden and you leave the same way that you came in, then you weren’t praying; you were complaining.
You might want to right that down. Prayer means here is an exchange. I was willing to carry this into Your presence. This what I have experienced in life, but I see You as the source of life. Let make the exchange. I receive now Your rest.
I want to welcome you into this kind of journey.
Prayer is Focusing on God
You can’t have someone, as glorious and as significant, as the Spirit of God, resting upon a person and have that person not talk to Him. The depth of our prayer life reveals the level of our awareness to the Spirit of God in our lives. We all know that the Holy Spirit lives in us and He walks with us, but it is the daily, ongoing consciousness of the Holy Spirit of God.
David said that I daily set the Lord before me. It’s not that we can position God where we want; He is not under our command, but we are under His. However, David was saying, since He is everywhere, I turn my attention to God being with me. And, that consciousness of God in his life in many ways made Him to be the greatest king Israel ever had.
This post comes from a portion of the sermon given by Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA on May 31, 2020. Their full service (worship and sermon) can be found on Youtube.
Thank you for this post. But I must confess, I don’t get it. If I feel the burden to pray about something, I pray until the feeling has lifted, too. And I write letters to God daily, and sometimes, we might have conversations (I include what He tells me through whatever means He chooses in the letters). I usually will keep writing until it seems like He is no longer speaking. However, I don’t often feel uplifted at the end. Even when I feel I have connected with Him, I feel emotionally drained by the end. I don’t know what I am doing wrong? What if the person has Depression, PTSD, Anxiety, or some other mental health disorder? What should we do to successfully exchange our turmoil for rest in our prayer life?
FAB question for Kevin, Rachel! I look forward to his reply, as well!
I love the questions you ask because they are more than mere curiosity. You are longing for breakthrough. I feel like I mentioned this before, but my suggestion is to find someone who will walk this journey with you. Someone you can see in their eyes that they want your success.
Just this week my wife and I were praying over some travel plans. With all that is going on in America, we were praying whether we should cancel the trip. She felt God was leading us to cancel; I felt that we were to keep our plans. Thankfully this doesn’t happen much in our marriage, but when it does, we know that we should keep praying.
In this case, as we continued to pray, I realized that I didn’t want to cancel because I didn’t want to lose the money on our deposits. My desires were getting in the way of being open to hear God’s voice in this situation. Once I confessed this and got it in the open, clarity came and we were able to get on the same page.
This weekend I was talking to a friend who has gone through very difficult hardships for many years. He admitted how he had secluded himself from others, church, and God. He was reaching out to me because he wanted to regain his relationship with God. He said he wanted to feel God as real as sitting next to him. When we prayed, he did feel God next him. I asked him to ask God how he felt about him. He said the Jesus was disappointed in him.
I can tell you this was not Jesus. He was disappointed in himself and pushed that impression on God. We do this all the time. This is why Bible reading is so helpful because it helps us recognize His voice over our own. Still others can lovingly reveal our ungodly beliefs. It was great that he shared this with me because it revealed his hurt and gave a path to healing. Having others in our lives who know us well and believe in us is incredibly important.
Last example. When I was living in China, I led a men’s group. Most of the men who came that had been in China of over a decade, and I was brand new there. These men had great experience and walks with the Lord, and I was leading the group. I would often leave the meeting questioning what I was doing and whether the men were getting anything out of it. I would often call a couple guys who knew me and one who came to the meeting and confess my feelings of inadequacy. They would then speak God’s truth over me. The enemy’s voice sounds true when we face it alone. We need others.
Rachel, God is for you. He loves you and believes in you. He will never say anything that make you feel discouraged. He sees you as beautiful, kind, and courageous. He words will continually tell you this. Find people that will remind you of this, as well.
I LOVE this article! It SO triggers MY memory of times/experiences THAT I’VE HAD, just like that, of prayers that DID avail much!
Thank you for your encouragement. May you experience this in even greater measure!
Thanks, Brother! And, I just read this article again, & it was an even GRRRREATER inspiration THIS time around!
Thanks a lot for your coaching, God continue to bless you. I am a leader of my church; a woman who needs strength and wisdom to lead the congregation. Pray with me always for the touch of God to open my eyes to see what He intended me to see, open my ears to hear His voice and open my heart to commune with Him more deeply
always in the precious name of Jesus
Thank you for this article have learnt a lot