I met Crickett Keith at a writers’ conference several years ago. I’m delighted to share her thoughts on prayer with you. Her current Bible study On Bended Knee was released last month. If you comment on this post, your name will be entered in a drawing to win a free signed copy of her book.

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Prayer: A Ritual or a Relationship?

Are you satisfied with your prayer life?

To be honest, most of us struggle with prayer from time to time. I do. The busyness of life crowds out time alone with God in prayer. And when we do pray, we often tend to bring Him our list of things we want and then rush off to those urgent things waiting for our attention. Prayer becomes a ritual we go through out of a sense of obligation; but God wants a relationship with us, not a mechanical routine we check off our to-do list.

Several years ago, I was struggling in my prayer life. Yes, I was meeting with God, I was praying, but I was simply going through the motions of praying and just saying words. It soon became clear that my prayer life wasn’t an intimate time with Him, but a ritual I was going through out of obligation.

As I asked God to change my prayer life, He led me to start studying the prayers of men and women in the Bible. Those prayers became the basis for my new Bible study just released by Moody: On Bended Knee: Praying like Prophets, Warriors, and Kings. In this eight-week study, we look at the prayers of eight men and women in the Bible, learning how to pray as we “listen in” on their prayers. I wanted to look at the situation and heart behind the prayer. What motivated them to pray? How did they approach God? How did God answer? How did their relationship with God deepen as a result of their prayers?

It changed the way I pray and brought life back into my prayer life. Even as I’m going through this study again now, these prayers are drawing me into a deeper relationship with Him.

Recently, I did a heart inventory on my prayer life, and I encourage you to do the same. Take some time this week and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is the motivation behind my prayers? Am I asking with pure motives or selfish motives?
  • Am I praying for God’s will to be done or my will to be done?
  • Am I praying for something that would glorify Him or that would glorify me?
  • Am I confessing sinful attitudes that would hinder my prayers, or am I rationalizing my actions and attitudes?
  • Is my prayer life a ritual or a relationship? An obligation or a necessity?

Prayer is more than just asking God for things; it’s about the relationship.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote in his book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount:

“The highest picture that you can ever have of man is to look at him on his knees waiting upon God . . . Man is never greater than when he is there in communion and contact with God.”

Let’s go to our knees and seek to know God’s heart.  

What have you found to be helpful in keeping your prayer life fresh and meaningful?

Crickett Keeth is the Women’s Ministry Director at First Evangelical Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where she writes and teaches the women’s Bible studies. She is the author of The Gift of Rest, Sumatra with the Seven Churches (co-authored with Sandra Glahn), and her newly released study from Moody, On Bended Knee. Crickett was on staff with Cru for ten years and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition to teaching regularly at her own church, she also speaks at women’s conferences and retreats. Learn more at www.crickettkeeth.com and her interview on Cathy Baker’s blog at https://bit.ly/2X7blEJ and Crickett is a guest on a podcast www.comingaliveministries.com

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