This past January, our church started “The Year of Prayer,” where the underlying focus of every sermon or event has been prayer. We’ve had prayer walks around schools and through neighborhoods, we’ve had prayer runs throughout the city, we’ve had prayer gatherings and a large portion of the sermons have been surrounding the topic of prayer. We were even encouraged to all walk through Mike Bickle’s “Growing in Prayer,” a 100 day devotional that I recommend for anyone who wants to deepen their prayer life. I was excited to start the year of prayer, but also curious as to whether or not my prayer life would actually change.
My prayer life had been growing over the past 10 years as God was bringing me on a journey out of spiritual complacency, but by the end of 2020, with homeschooling, covid and our national headlines in full swing, my prayer life had become unfocused and scattered. I certainly didn’t want it to be that way, and some days weren’t, some days were focused and I felt connected and in alignment with the Lord, but some days left me frustrated at myself as I continually tried to bring my mind back to the fact that I was in conversation with the creator of the universe. I knew I had to switch something up. Something had to shift in order for me to move forward in my prayer life.
Over the years, I have prayed, “Lord, help make my desire for you greater than any other desire within me.” I know that if I want to pursue the Lord with my whole being, then He has to be the greatest desire in me. But something I began to notice, or more like God began to show me, was that my desire for coffee in the morning was starting to trump my desire for time with Him. I woke up with the desire of coffee in my mouth, more than the sweet taste of His word. My “Jesus and coffee” time had become “coffee and Jesus.” I also began to notice that even though my heart desired for God to be the first thing on my mind when I woke and for Him to be the first person I spoke to, I found myself reaching for my phone, looking at other people and talking to myself instead of talking with Him. Can you relate?!
God had also been prompting me to pray more diligently for my children and my husband. I have always prayed for my family but truthfully, my prayers were pretty shallow, often surrounding safety and protection. Over the past few years, God has opened my eyes to how I can specifically and boldly pray for my family and I truly believe it has been transformative in the life of my children and husband, but I still was feeling the urge to pray more. Maybe it’s because my kids are getting closer and closer to being teenagers!
So with all of that going on in my head and around me – The Year of Prayer, the prayer devotional, the longing for God to be my heart’s desire and the first one on my mind in the morning, the conviction about coffee and the prompting to pray more for my family – I asked God what He wanted me to do. What change or shift needed to take place in order for me to move forward in my prayer life?
He answered in a way that was simple and practical and yet earth trembling and life changing. I needed to start my day on my knees in prayer.
Being on my knees in prayer was not foreign to me, but it certainly wasn’t natural. I had seen it and done it plenty of times, but sitting in my chair, sipping my coffee while praying was more comfortable! Also, when I had knelt in prayer before, it usually was surrounding something big going on, such as a crisis. So I asked myself if starting my day on my knees in prayer would really do anything? Would it really matter? Was it really necessary?
It is necessary!
Great heroes of the faith, such as Daniel, Abraham, Moses and Soloman knelt in prayer. The Psalmist, David, says in Psalm 95:6, “Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.” We see in Acts the disciples kneeling to pray. The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:14 that he kneels before the Father in prayer. And most importantly, the person I want to be most like, Jesus, knelt in prayer before His Father.
It is true that you are able to pray to God when you are kneeling, when you are standing, when you are driving, when you are hiking, when you are shopping, you can pray whenever and however! God is more concerned with the posture of the heart than the posture of the body, however, for me, if my heart’s posture is desiring to have God as my greatest desire, then shouldn’t my body be postured in the same way?
Kneeling is a physical act of surrender and submission. Did I want to start my day in surrender and submission to the One who is Sovereign over all, the One who holds my life in His hands, the One who loves my children more than me, the One who knows my tomorrow? Absolutely.
Hear me on this – I am not saying that you must start your day on your knees or else you won’t be able to surrender to God! Not at all! What I am saying though, is for me, and possibly for you if God leads you that way, starting my day in a physical posture of surrender shifted my prayer life into the next gear. It’s as if hitting my knees, a position of weakness, allowed me to connect with the Holy Spirit, who infiltrated me with His strength for the day.
Let me also say this – having your coffee before your time alone with the Lord is not a sin! And I’m not some crazy person who doesn’t crave coffee, I still do! For me, the conviction came because I was craving coffee more than Jesus. That morning coffee addiction had become somewhat of an idol and I needed to put it back in it’s rightful place and put my time with God back in it’s rightful place, first.
Next week I’m going to talk more about the prompting to pray for my family and what that has looked like but all of these stirrings within me and the year of prayer was orchestrated by God so that I would take a long look at my prayer life and see what needed adjusting. What needed to change so that I would approach prayer with a fresh and expectant heart. God is so so good like that! Now when I start my day, instead of going downstairs, getting a few swigs of coffee in and glancing at my phone, I go to my knees at the top of our stairs, I enter into conversation with the Lord, worshiping Him and praying blessing over my family. He is the first one I think of when I wake up. He is the One I long for. He is becoming my heart’s greatest desire, although I’m not there yet! I still get my coffee and I still sit down at my dining room table and open His word for further conversation and study, but the coffee is delayed, the phone is left in the other room and they are put in their rightful place by first starting my day on my knees.
My hope is that my story will cause you to consider your prayer life. Has it become stagnant? Are you scattered and unfocused? Do you long to have a more vibrant prayer life? Start your day on your knees and see what happens. Try it for one week, test it out – if your body is in a posture of surrender, does your heart and mind follow? Give it a try. It is worth it!
“Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.” Psalm 95:6
God, may I bow down before you in worship and may you take your rightful place in my heart, mind and soul.