#Pray2014 : Praying to Know God (January)
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.
Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God will glory in him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.
It wasn’t your decision to seek Christ.
It wasn’t your decision to become a Christian.
These statements may, at first glance, seem contrary to our self-understanding; they are absolutely true. You see, before you and I can seek out God, God must first seek us out.
As Jesus said, “No one can come to me, except the Father, which as sent me, draws him.” (John 6:44) And so the impulse to pursue God comes from God, but the determination to follow this impulse comes from us–if, and when, we decide to follow hard after him.
Now, to know God is not the same thing as knowing his Word, or knowing his Church. God is personal, God is spirit, God is in depending from his church and his word. While we can learn much about Him from these sources, if we really want to know God, we must seek out God–which is easier said than done. This seeking out of God is a spiritual journey, and will take both determination and discipline, but is well worth the effort.
As A. W. Tozer once put it, “It is tragic in modern evangelicalism how we focus so much on the act of ‘accepting’ Christ and so little on the action of ‘knowing’ Christ.” He went on to say, “Complacency is the deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted–too bad that with many of us he waits so long, so very long, in vain.”
Praying the Bible–Knowing God
I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Phil 3:10)
As we begin our prayer journey together, we will focus on seeking and knowing God. This month, we will not ask for anything but his presence and we will not request anything except his grace to help us focus on the task of knowing him better.
During the month of January, we have four Bible Prayers to work through. Focus on one each week, and read them regularly. As you read them, pray these passages, over and over again if you must, but your goal is to internalize the desire of these writers in your own life. As you read, pray, and meditate on these prayers. Consider the short note about A. W. Tozer, and challenge yourself with a new desire to let nothing come between you and knowing God better.
Four Bible Prayers about Knowing God
Try to repeat the reading every day for the week specified. If you cannot do this, simply read it as often as you can, and focus on God’s presence.
- Week One: Psalm 63 – the attitude we need to know God better
- Week Two: Phil 3:1-14 – pray verse 10 as a prayer
- Week Three: Exod 33:12-23 – pray verse 18 carefully
- Week Four: John 14:1-14 – pray verse 8, listen to Jesus’ response
- The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer
- The Book of Jonah
- John 14-17
A. W. Tozer was a pastor and theologian during the 20th century. He pastored both in Chicago and Toronto for the Alliance church, and was considered one of the great theologians of the past 100 years. But Tozer was best known for his lifelong commitment to know God.
Self-educated, because he did not have the opportunity to attend either high school or college, Tozer wrote over 40 books, one of which is called “The Pursuit of God.” In this book he challenges Christians to endlessly seek after God saying, “God wills that we should push on into His presence and live our whole life there. This is to be known to us in conscious experience. He is more than a doctrine to be held; He is a God to be enjoyed in every moment of every day.”
This month, challenge yourself to be aware of how much time you spend distracting yourself from seeking after God and try to create regular time and space to just be aware of His presence.knowing God, pray2014, prayer guide