Oh, how we need the heart of the Father in our world in these times. Quite beautifully the Bible is constantly inviting us into this sacred place of heart communion with the Father. For example Jeremiah 29: 12-13: Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. And also Jeremiah33:3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to prayer, I often find myself in a place of reactionary prayer. What I mean by this is, that prayer and petition to God can often be in reaction to what has happened in life; personal situations, family or friends, or even world affairs. This is not wrong by any means and in fact we see multiple occasions in scripture where people prayed in reaction to an event or occurrence, for example, Israel prayed in reaction to harsh treatment in the land of Egypt before God brought deliverance through His servant Moses. As good and as valuable as reactionary prayer is, I believe we are missing out on what the Father may be doing or even saying if that is our only practice of prayer.
I have been challenged recently again to take time to simply sit with the Father, not praying in reaction to any event or current challenge, but to sit with His heart and proactively pray as the Spirit and scripture lead.
Reactive prayer responds to the needs of the present, but proactive prayer looks to a vision for the future.
Jesus is our example in this necessary practice of proactive prayer. Jesus could have spent His whole time ministering to the needs and reacting to people coming to Him for salvation, healing, deliverance and powerful miracles. But often in the Gospels, we read of Him going off on His own to spend time with the Father. In Luke 5:15-16 straight after Jesus had healed a man from leprosy it says: But now even more the report about Him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear Him and to be healed of their infirmities. But He would withdraw to desolate places and pray. Again in Matthew 14:23 And after He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. Luke records in chapter 6 that He spent a whole night in prayer to God on a mountain. These times of prayer were no doubt sometimes in reaction to the demands of ministry and for personal focus and renewal but they also were undoubtedly proactive prayers to prepare for major tasks, before making decisions and for future guidance.
Our reactive prayers show people we care. Our proactive prayers show God we have faith, desire and vision for the future. Both types of prayer are critical in the life of a believer.
Heavenly Father, we give You honour and praise. Thank You for the privilege of prayer. Thank You that You hear us and answer us according to Your will. Father, help us not to just pray reactionary prayers as important as they are. But help us to intentionally pursue times of proactive prayer where we are led by Your Word and Spirit to pray over the future and vision You have for us as individuals, churches and nations. In Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.