I wrote a devotional earlier this year entitled “Knees That Bleed”, and since Pastor Ben taught a wonderful sermon on prayer this week, I thought I would make this devotional a follow-up to that, as the importance of prayer in my life has increased more and more since that time.
The longer I’ve followed God, the more I’ve realized that I desperately need Him, and just as the term “daily bread” implies, I need to meet with Him and be in relationship with Him every single day.
“Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”
We’ve all heard the Lord’s Prayer, and most of us have prayed it countless times, but it never fails to orient us properly in the Christian life. When our prayers center around the themes of glorifying God, prioritizing His will, and asking for simple providence, forgiveness, and deliverance, we get closer to the LORD and understand that it’s His glory alone that we are living this day for.
The elder that walked me through my baptism process a few years ago taught me this: “Envision yourself on your Father’s lap as you rise to pray to Him every morning.” I see now that this is the essence of the Christian life. At the time, I struggled greatly with only seeing God as a holy judge, but I was wrong to not see him as a loving father, and this teaching helped bring me into a balanced and biblical understanding of God’s character. It’s taken some time to form that daily habit, but the LORD has been so gracious to me in teaching me to meet with Him.
Fast-forwarding to today, there has been a series of trials that have come upon me, but I feel the LORD using each and every one of them to pull me closer to Him. He’s teaching me the steadfastness of faith, and in turn, the dire need for each and every one of us to meet with Him on a daily basis. We can make it a day or two without food (ironic, with a sermon on fasting coming up this week), but we can’t make it a day without the LORD. We can’t breathe apart from His power.
But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Another elder that I’ve been meeting with has been teaching me the importance of daily scripture reading alongside a reading technique called SOAPing, and it’s one I highly recommend to all of my brothers and sisters in Christ! You simply write down a few verses of Scripture, followed by Observations, then Applications to your life, followed by a Prayer to the LORD.
It is a simple yet effective daily discipline that engages you with the true meanings of scripture in context, as well as directing you to our Father in Heaven as you walk out the day with Him. Every SOAP I have completed has increased my longing to meet with Him again, again, and again, for longer, longer, and longer.
Moments of intense grief and pain will drive us to our knees to call out to the LORD, and I believe He ordains that, seeking to stir us to rely on Him above all things. But it’s also in making our knees bleed daily that the LORD truly achieves a steadfast and faithful relationship with us.
Even when life is bland and typical, there is so much joy to be found in spending time with Him, and I’m so blessed by the LORD to know Him through these private and intimate meetings. Even when I fail, he calls me back to the prayer closet. I’d be lost to the gates of hell without Him, and for that salvation and His glory alone, I press on.
~ Alex Nicholson serves as Social Media Director and Music Director at LIFE Fellowship.