Three Stages of Prayer

How do you view prayer? As a burden to be born? Certainly there may be times when we go through dry places and prayer must be maintained as a discipline. We pray because we know we should. We want to show God we're faithful even if we can't sense a spirit of prayer. But God intends for our time in His presence to give us our highest joys. "Fellowship Divine" the song calls it, and that is what the Spirit longs for us to enjoy.

I think our devotions can have three stages:

1. Medicine stage: We read the Bible and pray because we know it's good for us. We fear that if we skip it we may regret it later.

Don't feel that God isn't hearing you or that the time was wasted even if you would call your time with Him in the medicine stage. I once heard an older minister say, "Those times when I don't sense any spirit of prayer and I pray anyway do me more good than the times when praying is easy. Those difficult times are developing something within me - a determination that pleases God."

2. The oatmeal stage. It's nourishing; but not real exciting. We don't anticipate it as the most joyous part of our day.

3. The peaches and cream stage. We love our time alone with Him. We would rather spend our time with Him than do anything else. I think that God invites us to have this kind of fellowship with Him. The peaches and cream stage is where we sing with the hymn writer, "Oh the pure delight of a single hour that before His throne I spend."

Thank You, Jesus, for inviting us to enjoy Your presence and for telling us You enjoy ours.

"The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will be quiet in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing" (3:17).