Seeking the face of God is one of the most powerful, life-changing themes in the Bible. Face represents the real essence and character of an individual. It’s the unique identifying characteristic of an individual. It is also the key to getting know someone. In the scriptures, we are encouraged to seek God’s face. Yes, Bible says that God is Spirit (John 4:24). He is “eternal, immortal, invisible” (1 Tim 1:17). Also, He dwells in “unapproachable light” (1 Tim 6:16). Yet the Bible calls us to seek His face. He wants us to know him and experience him, and he created us for this very purpose. (1 Chronicles 16:11; Psalm 105:4) “Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!” Face time with the Almighty God is the key to blessings, protection, grace, and peace. “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”’ (Numbers 6:24-26)
Prayer is Christian’s way of “Face Timing” with God. Prayer is not meditation or passive reflection; it is direct address to God. It is the communication of the human soul with the Lord who created the soul. Prayer is the primary way for the believer in Jesus Christ to communicate his emotions and his desires with God, and to fellowship with God.
Prayer is described in the Bible as:
- Seeking God’s favor (Exodus 32:11)
- Pouring out one’s soul to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:15)
- Crying out to heaven (2 Chronicles 32:20)
- Drawing near to God (Psalm 73:28, KJV)
- Kneeling before the Father (Ephesians 3:14)
So, all prayer must be offered:
- To God in faith (James 1:6),
- In the name of the Lord Jesus (John 16:23), and
- In the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26)
Praying “In the Name”
The first formal mention of prayer in the Bible occurs in Genesis 4:26, “Then, people began to call upon the name of the LORD.” The Name of the LORD, represents more than a title for God. It is the essence of His identity and character revealed to the human through His Son Jesus Christ and through His written Word – the Bible. Through His ministry, Jesus brought clarity to us about His Identity and character. He is the exact image of invisible God (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15). When you know Jesus, you know God (John 14:9). Bible is the starting place for our prayers. It reveals Gods plan and purpose for us. When we read the bible, we find truths about God. These truths fuel our worship of Him. It fuels our reverence for His Holy name. Pray in Jesus name is to pray according to the will of God. When we pray according to His will, His name will be glorified and honored.
What to pray? For Everything! Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6). There are no ‘little things’ or ‘big things’ in our requests to God.
How often should we pray? The biblical answer is “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It doesn’t mean that we are to be in a head-bowed, eyes-closed posture all day long. Paul is not referring to non-stop talking, but rather an attitude of God-consciousness all the time. A lack of prayer will cause us to depend on ourselves instead of depending on God’s grace. Unceasing prayer is, in essence, continual dependence upon God and communion with the God.
Worship-Based Prayer: Beyond a “Grocery List” of Needs
Scripture is clear that we need to ask God for things but, I bet, if we take these two words “Bless” and “Be with” out from our prayer vocabulary, we wouldn’t have anything to say. Our needs are not the foundation for the prayer, but our worship is. Worship is the response to the revelation of God. Worship-Based Prayer seeks the face of God before the hand of God.
- God’s face is the essence of who he is. It represents His person and presence.
- God’s hand is the blessings of what he does. It represents His provision for our needs.
Most Christian pray out of crisis or from a grocery list. If all we ever do is seek God’s hand, we may miss His face; but if we seek His face, He will be glad to open His hand and satisfy our needs. Jesus taught a worship-based approach to prayer. All true prayer exists for the glory of God, and is:
- Based on the Worship of God
- Focus on the Face of God
- Shaped by the Word of God
- Inspired by the Spirit of God
- Offered through the Son of God
- Aimed for the Will of God
- Experienced by true Children of God.
The essence of Face Time with God
The Lord’s prayer is the ultimate pattern of prayer Jesus gave to His followers. Lord’s prayer is not complex. In simplest analyses, it has two main components. Jesus told us to seek the things of God, seeks the face of God as a priority over the things of the world. This is the heart of prayer.
- Reference to God’s Glory (Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done)
- Reference to Man’s Need (Give us our daily bread, forgive our sins, do not lead us to temptation, deliver us from evil)
These two components can be elaborated under four specific actions on our part:
This is the Starting Place of our prayer. In the prayer pattern Jesus gave His disciples, He instruct us to begin with reverence, an upward focus of worship – “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” We start prayer with the focus on God’s characters (attributes) suggested by His various names. The Names of God used in the Bible act as a roadmap for learning about the character of God. Since the Bible is God’s Word to us, the names He chooses in scripture are meant to reveal His true nature to us. So, spending time to study bible is the way to discover His character. Believe that He is true to His character when start your conversation.
Now we respond to God’s character – “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The respond to God’s character in prayer involves submission to His Word, recommitment to obey His rules and desiring to accomplish His purpose on this earth. In Matthew 6:31–33, Jesus said not to worry about what to eat, what drink, what to wear. First seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, and He will give you the rest you need. Kingdom (basileia) does not refer to a geographical territory but to a dominion or rule. God’s kingdom is God’s sovereign rule.
Three ways of seeking /establishing God’s Kingdom and doing His will on earth:
- Conversion – Seek Christ and His gift of salvation in your life. Receive the Gospel.
- Commitment – Start obeying His rules and Live according to scripture.
- Commission – Teach and train people to follow and obey Christ. Make disciples.
We are now ready to express our trust in God for the needs of our lives. Psalm 9:10 says, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” In Luke 9-10, Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Further He goes on to saying in v13 that God knows how to give good gifts to your children.
What do you think that Jesus have in mind when He tells us to ask, seek, and knock? A pay raise, A new car? A paid vacation? In the context, Jesus spoke of the basic provision of fish and bread, with no mention of fishing boats, lake-side cabins, or video games. So, what are the good gifts that he is talking about? The clarification comes at the end of the verse 13 – life giving power of the Holy Spirit, that is the good gift. So, it is a promise of basic provision and spiritual empowerment for our life to accomplish His purpose on earth.
With this position of spiritual alignment, we come to the Father with our requests. “Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”.
This includes FOUR requests:
- Resources: Our daily provision
Praying for “daily bread” is more than hoping for a bagel and Panini. It represents “all that we need to sustain life”. It involves prayer about personal concerns, family and friends, and different circumstances of life.
- Relationship with God and others: Forgive and be forgiven
Relationship matters to God. We have to have our relational alignments, both vertical (with God) and horizontal (with others) right as we come for prayer. To be forgiven by God, we must forgive others, we must restore our relationships with others.
- Spiritual empowerment: Strength to overcome temptations
We recognize our own inability to overcome the temptations and snares of daily life. We are praying for spiritual empowerment to face the battle in life. God’s word is sufficient to equip us to face the temptations in life.
- Safety: Protection from evil
Ephesians 6:12 tells us clearly that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Prayer is not an escape from this battle, but getting equipped to fight back with supernatural power. When we pray, we declare war against the devil, without just surrendering to his evil schemes. Ephesians ch.6 says to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
We conclude our facetime with God with a high note of praise – “for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Jesus’ hasn’t left us all alone in a hostile world without resources, or without a Master. God assures us that He will never forsake us. And, LORD longs to be gracious to us (Isaiah 30:18). The gap between the man and God is closed instantly whenever one seeks the face of God. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16).
Transforming Prayer, Daniel Henderson