August 4, 2010
I’ve been asked to share a little about intimacy with God in one of our upcoming services. The topic is prayer and the main point is that prayer is mostly practiced in pursuit of knowing God. It is a relational issue more than anything else. Prayer draws us closer to God, closer to his heart, to his will, and to his character. Prayer brings intimacy with God.
Many songs of worship are sung prayers that when sung from our hearts draw us closer to God. Christian songwriters are a gift from God to the church. As modern psalmists, their musical prayers model intimacy with God. They give me an inspiration to draw near to Him. My first experience came in Junior High with Keith Green’s music. His prayers became my own and you know what? God answered these prayers that I sang as a child. I realized this when I got to college. My favorite song is called, Make My Life a Prayer. It was one of the first songs I learned to sing and play on the piano. It remains a major prayer of my heart.
When a worship song or hymn resonates with our common desire to know God, it quickly becomes a favorite. The Scriptures promise, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8 NIV) God desires to draw near to us and offers prayer as the main means of doing this. Repentance, thanksgiving, complaint, need, adoration, suffering, a cry for help, questioning, a prayer for a loved one – all of these are appropriate ways to communicate with our loving Father.
There are many prayerful songs that personally draw me close to God. I sense his nearness when I sing them. I sense that this is exactly where I need to be more than anything else. Choosing one song to highlight is perhaps one of the hardest things I do. But the first that comes to mind is one that immediately resonated with my heart; yet, I found it difficult to sing. It fought my sinful nature to sing the words, “You’re all I want. You’re all I’ve ever needed. You’re all I want. Help me know you are near.” I had to come to the place where I admitted that all the things that I want and need, even good things like my family, friends, my job, my ministry, all my desires, all of these things didn’t compare for my need for God.
When I sing words like these, is it because I always feel or act that way? No. Perhaps it is uncomfortable to sing them because they are not true at the moment. I need to pause and repent – the prayer of confession is a prayer that God promises to always answer. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” My favorite version is the first I ever heard by the Katinas on the Exodus project, Draw Me Close.
Recently, I heard Matt Papa’s Open Hands on KSGN while driving to worship early one Sunday morning. It became my prayer right away and I had to sit in the car and listen all the way to the end. I quickly found this song and downloaded it for $.99 on itunes. We live in such amazing times! I encourage you to make a playlist of some of your favorite prayer songs and use that to draw you into a conversation with God.
Last week we introduced, Like Incense (Sometimes by Step) by Hillsong. This song combined a prayerful chorus written by Rich Mullins’ Sometimes by Step with new verses presented by Hillsong. These new
verses are prayers that flow from the heart of Psalm 119, having a delight in following God’s ways. Enjoy!
Perhaps you could add a comment recommending one of your favorite prayer songs.