by Paul David Tripp

Prayer is abandoning my reliance on me and running toward the rest that can be found only when I rely on the power of God.

Prayer abandons independence. Prayer forsakes any thought that you can make it on your own. Prayer affirms dependency. Prayer acknowledges weakness. Prayer renounces assessments of capability. Prayer embraces the reality of failure. Prayer tells you that you are not at the center. Prayer calls you to abandon your plans for the wiser plans of another. Prayer flows from a deep personal sense of need and runs toward God’s abundant grace.

Because of what prayer really is, prayer is not natural for us. It’s not natural for us to embrace our sin, weakness, and failure. It’s not natural for us to be comfortable depending on the mercy of another. It’s not natural for us to surrender our hopes and dreams to the better vision of another. It’s not natural for us to surrender our wisdom and control to someone greater than us. It’s not natural for us to think that we need grace. On the other hand, it’s natural for us to think that our righteousness, wisdom, strength, and work are enough. As a result, many of our prayers are the religious pronouncements of self-righteous people, the long wish lists of entitled people, or the impatient demands of people who are wondering what in the world God is doing. So many of our prayers aren’t prayers at all (see Luke 18:9–14).

Here is the bottom line. We need to be met by God’s grace if, in true humility, we are ever going to be able to abandon our self-reliance and pray for grace. It is only by grace that we will ever acknowledge our need for grace and worship God for the grace he has so willingly lavished on us. Since prayer is fundamentally counterintuitive, we need grace to rescue us from our self-oriented religious meanderings so that, with humble hearts, we may acknowledge God as the Redeemer-King and cast ourselves on his gracious care. Prayer always forsakes the kingdom of self for the kingdom of God, and for that we all need forgiving, rescuing, and transforming grace. This is just the kind of grace for which true prayer leads us to cry out.

For further study and encouragement: Luke 11:1–13

From New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp