O Father, thou art enthroned to hear my prayers.
O Jesus, thy hand is outstretched to take my petitions.
O Holy Spirit, thou art willing to help my infirmities, to show me my need, to supply words, to pray within me, to strengthen me that I faint not in supplication.
What an incredibly descriptive prayer surrounding the Trinitarian role in the Christian’s daily sanctification. It’s pretty humbling to think that our Heavenly Father is on His throne as I type this, listening to the sweet prayers of His people. Revelation 8:3-4 describes the prayers of the saints to be like incense that rise before God. Consider the Spirit’s role in conforming us to be more like Christ (Romans 8:29). According to this puritan prayer, He helps us in our weaknesses, reveals our sin and our need for Christ, gives us the very words to pray to Him, and strengthens us so that His work in us is brought to completion. (Philippians 1:6)
What really stood out to me the most while reading through this prayer was that the puritan beautifully portrays Jesus, who upholds the entire universe by the very word of His power (Hebrews 1:3), who was before all things, and through whom all things hold together (Colossians 1:17), stretches out His hand to receive our petitions. This imagery suggests two things— the deep compassion that Christ has for His people, and His joy to commune with us through prayer.
Consider 1 Peter 3:12: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. God is serious about prayer. Often, we can view prayer as sort of a nice bonus to our salvation, only to be used when we are fearful or anxious about something, but what is God’s design for our prayer? There is a sense of eagerness when Peter is quoting the psalmist. The Lord’s eyes are on His people. He is watching with purpose, listening for our prayers. He is eager to listen to them. He takes joy in answering them (Matthew 7:11). Scripture is clear, we do not need priest or pope to be our advocate with our Heavenly Father. Our Great High Priest is interceding for us (1 John 2:1). We do not have to ascend to the heavens to get the attention of our Lord. His ear is inclined to us—like a father to his child.
If your prayer life has stalled, in a rut, or just non-existent, I want to encourage you to lean into Christ and lay your burdens on Him. Here are some practical ways to deepen and discipline your prayer life: Set aside time during the day to be alone and just humble yourself before Him. I would also encourage you to begin journaling your prayer time, before and afterward. Make a list of things you would like to pray for, and journal what you prayed for. The prayer list makes your time with God intentional and less distraction prone. Regarding how much time you spend in prayer, set realistic goals for yourself. Perhaps start with 10 minutes and work your way up from there. The reward of communion with God is absolutely worth waking up a little earlier and tasting His mercies that are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23).
As sons and daughters adopted into God’s family, His hand is stretched out to receive the petitions of our prayers. I pray that this truth draws us closer to Him. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.