September 02, 2018

Preparing to Pray

Revelation 3:14-22

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in. . . .

—  Revelation 3:20

Here is the amazing reality of prayer: It exists because God wants to have a relationship with you. Prayer begins with God moving your heart to seek his heart. We don’t initiate prayer; God does. This means that our prayers are always responses to God’s promptings.

The scene in today’s Bible reading portrays this fact beautifully. By knocking on the door to our hearts, the Lord invites us to enjoy a deep, lasting friendship with him. We would never have known that Jesus was at our doorstep without his knock­ing at the door.

The fact that prayer is a response to God’s initiatives is reassuring. But this should also motivate us, when possible, to spend time preparing to pray before actually doing it. It need not be long, but some recognition of God’s grace, the ground of all prayer, is a good way to begin. Before we speak, we should listen to the voice that calls to us. Before knocking on God’s door, we should hear God knocking on ours. When we prepare to pray, we gratefully acknowledge that what we are about to do has originated in the heart of God.

So before you pray, bow before its mystery. Savor the Lord’s grace and love. Then open the door.

Lord God, how often I rush into prayer without realizing what an incredible gift it is. Slow me down, Lord. Make me aware of your grace and love as I come to you in prayer. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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