“Practice makes perfect.” That’s what many of us have been told from a very young age. I like the phrase, but truthfully, I’ve never done anything perfectly in my life. I do, however, get what is intended by the statement. We get better when we practice.
If you have ever attempted to learn how to play a musical instrument, play a sport, or master a trade skill, you know this already. It is likely that you also recognize the value of practicing strategically. Every instructor and coach that I’ve ever sat under has had a plan for how to best use the practice time.
My experience is that these principles all translate when it comes to prayer. We can get better at prayer. We can make advances in prayer as we commit ourselves to repeating the exercise. But I wouldn’t want you to think that any kind of praying will do. In order to make progress in prayer my recommendation is for you to track with the many examples of godly men and women in the Bible who gained intimacy with God by praying in a particular manner. In a previous post, I commended Hannah in this regard. In this post, I commend King David as a man who advanced his relationship with the Lord as he made advances in prayer.
The audio below contains my entire message on this subject, but here is the outline–King David’s prayer, recorded in 2Samuel 7:18-29, has three essential components:
1) Humble approach
2) Heartfelt praise
3) Honourable Petitions
The first two components relate to the manner of David’s praying, while the third component relates to the content of David’s prayer.
Getting better in prayer is possible, but it is not easy. If you are like me, and if you have had seasons where you have struggled with prayer, I expect that David’s example will help you. There is a massive difference between “saying a prayer” and praying. I have no interest in helping people “say prayers” more effectively. My interest is to help people advance in praying to our Heavenly Father.
I wish I could say “Practice makes perfect”, but that might be misleading. Instead, let me encourage you to study and emulate David’s example. If you do, I am confident you will make advances in prayer.
“David: Passion For God’s Glory”, based on 2Samuel 7:18-29, was preached at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk on Sunday, May 22, 2011.