The Delights of Prayer

He looked familiar but I could not quite place the man in the airport terminal. Our eye contact seemed to make him nervous. Surprisingly, his coach class seat on a large, crowded flight was right next to mine. Within a few minutes I knew why he looked familiar. “Are you so-and-so?” I asked. He responded rather quietly in the affirmative. “Are you a reporter?” he inquired. I responded rather quietly in the negative. For the next 60 minutes, I would be enjoying the company and would have the ear of a United States Senator. We spoke about the condition of our nation, the future of our children, and the moral problems of society. Two things impressed me right away: he was humble enough to sit back in coach class and he genuinely wanted to hear what a coach class citizen had to say. Our enjoyable conversation ended with a “thank you” for his service. He picked up his papers and I confess to glancing occasionally to watch the senator at work. But something else struck me afterwards. I was speaking to a man who had authority to impact the very things we discussed. To this day, I reflect with great delight upon that hour, conversing with someone who could change the course of events five miles beneath our feet.

The Delight of Having God’s Ear

David realized that “Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live” (Psa 116:2). At any moment, during any hour, under any circumstance, we can have the ear of God (Eph 2:18). Our God is not the senator of a country, but the Sovereign of the universe, yet He genuinely wants to hear what lowly creatures, such as we, have to say. David also said, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice” (Psa 55:17). We need not fear that God will grow weary with our words, petitions, and concerns. Some people will lend us their ear for a while. They may listen patiently, but will eventually tire, tune us out, and perhaps even walk away. Not so with our patient, attentive God.

The Delight of Recalling God’s Goodness

I confess that I could not think of many things that senator did that had helped our nation or impacted my life personally. But I thanked him for his service anyway. How impossible it would be to think of all the things our God has done for us. Overwhelmed with God’s goodness, the Psalmist wrote, “Many, O Lord, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done … if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered” (Psa 40:5). How necessary it is and how easy it should be to “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise” (Psa 100:4). The Lord knows that in recalling His goodness in our lives, we will have confidence to approach Him with even more and larger requests.

The Delight of Watching God Work

When our conversation was over, the busy senator was back at work. Congressional bills were being read, notes were taken, and messages were sent, all with the potential to influence the course of events in our nation. Jesus said, “My Father has never stopped working” (John 5:17 CEV). God is at work in our world and in the lives of His people (Rom 8:28). As we come to Him in prayer, remember that His power and resources are unlimited (Phil 4:19). Frustrated parents, you can pray and watch God work in the lives of your children. Concerned wives, you can pray and watch God work in the life of your husband. Troubled teenagers, bring your cares to God and you will see proof that He cares for you (1Peter 5:7). Discouraged elders can pray and receive God’s wisdom for the needed hour (James 1:5). Every believer can pray and experience the delight of God “producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases Him” (Phil 2:13, ISV).

The Delight of Enjoying God’s Company

Without question, I did enjoy being in the presence of that senator. And I was impressed with the fact that it seemed he enjoyed my company also. Remember that God delights to be with His people. After He made Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, it was His desire to speak with them and dwell with them (Gen 3:8). In the eternal state, “the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them” (Rev 21:3). God created us that we might have communion with Him. He enjoys our company. But do we enjoy His company? We will only have delight in prayer if we delight in God Himself. A lack of delight in God is the reason we are so slow in coming to Him. And communication is two-way. If we do not delight in speaking to God (prayer), how should we think we will delight in listening to God (through His Word)? Ultimately, it is not so much the way I pray that will make prayer more enjoyable. I either enjoy being with God or I do not. David learned this and sang, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy” (Psa 16:11). Why not take the time right now to “draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8 ESV)?

O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend!
When I kneel in prayer, And with Thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend.