“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)
Prayer pursues joy in fellowship with Jesus and in the power to share his life with others.
And prayer pursues God’s glory by treating him as the inexhaustible reservoir of hope and help. In prayer, we admit our poverty and God’s prosperity, our bankruptcy and his bounty, our misery and his mercy.
Therefore, prayer highly exalts and glorifies God precisely by pursuing everything we long for in him, and not in ourselves. “Ask, and you will receive . . . that the Father may be glorified in the Son and . . . that your joy may be full.” Unless I’m badly mistaken, one of the main reasons so many of God’s children don’t have a significant life of prayer is not so much that we don’t want to, but that we don’t plan to.
If you want to take a four-week vacation, you don’t just get up one summer morning and say, “Hey, let’s go today!” You won’t have anything ready. You won’t know where to go. Nothing has been planned.
But that is how many of us treat prayer. We get up day after day and realize that significant times of prayer should be a part of our life, but nothing’s ever ready.
We don’t know where to go. Nothing has been planned. No time. No place. No procedure. And we all know that the opposite of planning is not a wonderful flow of deep, spontaneous experiences in prayer. The opposite of planning is the rut.
If you don’t plan a vacation, you will probably stay home and watch TV. The natural, unplanned flow of spiritual life sinks to the lowest ebb of vitality. There is a race to be run and a fight to be fought. If you want renewal in your life of prayer, you must plan to see it.
Therefore, my simple exhortation is this: Let us take time this very day to rethink our priorities and how prayer fits in. Make some new resolve. Try some new venture with God. Set a time. Set a place. Choose a portion of Scripture to guide you.
Don’t be tyrannized by the press of busy days. We all need midcourse corrections. Make this a day of turning to prayer — for the glory of God and for the fullness of your joy.
From Desiring God, pages 182–183