The title question may sound strange, but that doesn’t mean it should not be considered. Should the believer view his/her solitude time of prayer with God a time of learning? Could be; maybe; shouldn’t it be? How’s that for a non-committed commitment?
Our time with the God of the universe should be filled with wonder of awe along with the wonder of learning. We should always want to learn more about our God and Savior, right? This also includes learning what the exercise of prayer is and what it is not. As you begin growing away from a one-sided relationship—the 90 in the 90:10, self begins taking a smaller role. This means that your time in prayer is less dictating from you and more listening and learning from Him. When this develops your spiritual senses will focus on Him rather than self.
How will the Lord speak to us in prayer?
He primarily speaks to us through His Word by His Spirit. Solitude time in prayer is the most fertile ground for such a class room. Our prayer time with the scriptures is like a sanctuary where God works on our heart and leads us to Himself. He will use His Word to build us up and tear us down—tearing down the parts and pieces that are harmful and hindering growth in Christ. He will use the scriptures to reveal and root out false and erroneous ideas and beliefs. When we humbly submit to using the solitude time to read and find God in Scripture we find the two-edged sword metaphor from Hebrews 4:12 manifesting in the safe haven of prayer.
Steve Lawson on the power of the Word of God: “I read a lot of books, but this is the only one that reads me.”
I’ll say it again: learning involves some tearing down. This is as important as the building up. Actually, the building up will be slow and hindered (possibly stopped altogether) unless our pride, selfishness, love of self, of our idols, lusts, covetousness, and … you get the picture … are torn down. Yet, when our hearts and lives grow more focused on Him and His glory and His purposes, all of which are good and perfect, like a young tree that finds the sunlight we begin growing tall and strong. For the young tree to find the sunlight the brush, over-growth, and bristles that work against it needs to be cut out and burned. A whole book could be devoted to stripping off man-made additives to what the scriptures tell us about prayer. Perhaps you have already discovered some extra-biblical beliefs and practices within your prayers and have already made changes. If you’re like Mark Terrell (A Reason to Pray at Mountianview), you’ll discover numerous presumptions and extra-biblical baggage in your prayer life. A prayer life that is intended to be an uncomplicated, simple time of fellowship between God and His child.
If it seems your prayer times are more arduous than natural, don’t be discouraged, prayer is an on-going class room. If you stop learning, you’ve stopped growing. The lessons you learn in the scriptures and put into practice will lead you through this life and into the next life–when you step into the presence of the King.
If you have already discovered some unscriptural practices or requests in your prayer time, it might help if you write them down in order to keep an eye on them so that you do not pick them back up. Consider a list of “Lessons Learned and not to Repeat.”
Does this mean that all of our prayers and devotions are moments of learning? I’m not going that far, but I’m also not going to answer for God on that question. But I can speak for myself, and pray:
“This is our time, Father. I want to know You. I want to learn Your ways, Your statutes, Your very heart. I also want to learn who I am and who I am not. Please open my eyes to the wonders of Your Word. May my heart see You as You have revealed Yourself in the Scriptures. Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes. As Your Spirit teaches me, I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; and with Your help I will not forget them. As I learn, incline my heart to walk in Your ways and live Your statutes.” Psalm 119:15-16; 18; 112; 135.
Since the Lord is inviting you to learn about Him from the scriptures during your solitude time of prayer with Him, consider your answers to the following:
- What do I expect to learn from my prayer and devotion time?
- When in prayer and meditation of the scriptures, do I consider the whole Trinity—The Father, Son, and Spirit? Do I consider their individuality involved in this time?
- Do I learn more about myself in light of the truth as revealed in God’s Word? (This may be your need or condition before Christ, or who you are in Christ?)
This blog’s title question? What is your answer?