Three Steps to Relationship

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I’ve found that for me to have a meaningful relationship with God in my prayer life I must follow three steps:

  1. Right standing
  2. Thankfulness
  3. Petitions or requests

Right Standing

From the times of Moses (and even before) there was only one way to gain a ‘right standing’ with God.  You must be forgiven.  And there was only one way to obtain forgiveness – shedding of blood.  Following the crucifixion of Jesus the blood of lambs, rams, bulls, simply was not sufficient for creating the right standing for fellowship with God.  It was only through the blood of Christ, the sinless Lamb, the only begotten of the Father.  God has provided the means for forgiveness, but its application must be done by the individual.  It’s false teaching to think that all of this happens automatically, and doesn’t need to be addressed on a continual basis.  Our ability to gain access into the Holy of Holies, is only possible through the blood of Christ that has been sprinkled on our lives.

Thankfulness

Thankfulness for what He has done – what He is doing – and for what He is going to do.  Thankfulness for the things we know about, and thankfulness for the things we don’t know about.  Recognition that God is performing works for us on a continual basis is part of spiritual maturity.  And recognition that many of the works God has done for us are ‘hidden’ or unknown is also a mark of maturity and spiritual growth.

Petitions and Requests

Once we have been given ‘right standing’, and are thankful, then we can make our requests to God, knowing that He “hears” us.  Wait.  Doesn’t God hear all prayers?  Well, yes, and no.  It is not up to me to decide what God hears and doesn’t hear when you pray.  However, from a scriptural perspective it is clear there is a process, and that God hears, listens, and responds to some prayers and not others.  Cornelius prayed and gave alms.  In fact, he was told that his prayers have risen up as a ‘memorial’ before God.  This gives evidence that some prayers are more important to God than others.  In brief, why would we want to spend time praying if God is not listening?  From Jesus’ illustration of the publican and Pharisee going to the temple to pray, it is clear humility on the part of the publican played a big role in his leaving the House of God justified.

These things cannot be done by ritual or simply following the process, or by repeating the same words over and over.  Our prayer life must be ‘real’, which means simply one thing – true prayer takes work and effort.  When the pastor prays for individuals during Sunday service, the only reason his/her prayers can be effective is if there was a lot of prayer that had already taken place before service time.  Then at service time, the prayer can be simple, direct, and effective.

I’m certainly no expert on prayer or relationship with God.  I can only express what I have experienced for myself.  Prayer and relationship is a very personal thing, and certainly varies on an individual by individual basis.  But, there are some common things that apply to all of us.  My hope and prayer is that this short posting will help someone to gain a deeper relationship with God…

One Response to “Three Steps to Relationship”

  1. Barbara L. McGuire Says:

    Such an excellent blog and you have it right…the 3 keys to a relationship with Him! You are dead on! Blessings….

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