The deepest secret about praying is that it is never a solo act. We begin by staggering around offering initial fumbling words. God picks up the spark, immediately arrives to step into the abyss and then unfurls what the rest of that prayer is. Little prayers or big. This is the duo dynamic: a mortal/immortal team, igniting continual fireworks in the universe throughout all history, together.
We’re not talking about answers to prayer here, we’re talking about the mystery of the actual act of praying. What really goes on there? We may have vaguely realized it before, but often in only in a foggy sort of way, that every time we pray we enter into—and cooperate with—supernatural activity borne of a divine unction in a split second.
In every case, all the time, we merely start to pray; God finishes the praying. The action of prayer is just like stepping onto a moving walkway at the airport. It is already traversing. If we’ll just get both feet planted there, we will arrive somewhere where we weren’t when we began praying.
In all prayer, there is man’s part, and there is God’s part. For our part, we merely provide the initial posture/condition for prayer and offer initial words. That’s it—and then whoosh, we are ushered into the heart of God, the words of God, the supernatural power of God. The Holy Spirit prays the remainder of the prayer! Lock on to this fact: we never finish our own prayers, alone. We are helped to “get there.”
The posture/condition of prayer that we offer may take a multitude of forms over a lifetime. Sometimes our prayer posture will be one of closed eyes, to enhance focus. But sometimes our prayers are offered with wide open, stark, unblinking eyes as we navigate an icy patch of highway near a cliff as we pray AND drive. Sometimes we humbly get down on our knees, or down flat on our face. Sometimes we stomp up and down a country road with raised arms furtively, urgently praying gusts and blasts of promises from Scripture. Sometimes we offer empty stomachs as we fast, our body praying, too—even when there are no words for huge chunks of the day. And sometimes we just marshal racing thoughts with no destination into a vertical column of appeal, purposing now an absolute destination, tired of our own run-around. In every case, we offer something of our body posture and our mental condition to begin each prayer. This sets off all the red lights on God’s dashboard that a saint, somewhere in the world, is ready to enter into the divine act of praying. That person, made in His image, is in the “go” posture and condition. Time for Him to show up.
God begs us to get in the avenue of prayer, in the condition to pray. He said to the Apostle Paul, “Get thee to Rome, for there you shall be \My witness.” And to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh; get into his courts and down his hallway and upon his rug before his throne; I’ll do the rest.” And to the early believers, “Do not worry about what you shall say before kings and courts; just open your mouth.”
Then come our faltering words. But all of a sudden they aren’t so faltering. Something begins to pray through us and upon us and with us. The God who made man’s mouth makes man’s prayers. We can count on it. Never is it an idle act to begin to pray. It hooks up divine voltage.
[For more inspiration re: praying, see our 28-page eBook of large print timeless quotes on prayer, from prayer warriors throughout history.]