Are there 3 stages to prayer?
I have been meditating on this thought since reading this passage in Jeremiah 29
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity”Jeremiah 29:12-14
There seems to be a progression in the Calling, the Coming and the Praying.
Let me illustrate:
We live on a croft (smallholding) and if my husband is up in the field and I want him or want to get his attention I first of all have to CALL him. I call his name, I shout for him. Then when he hears and turns towards me he beckons me to him, to COME. Now I may not want to come to him, I may not have time to go up the field, I may want him to come and see what I am doing or what I want, but he beckons me to COME, so when I come close I see then what he is doing and then we have conversation.
So too spiritually, often I may call to God, I want Him to come to me and see what I have got going on, but He beckons me to come to Him, and when I come to Him and see what He is doing, what His ways are, then I pray, then we are in conversation and then my prayers are much more likely to be God-focused and according to His will rather than if I had stayed in my own thoughts and troubles.
CALL. COME. PRAY.
So often I fear that I miss out that middle stage; I am in too much of a rush, or I come with my prayer list, my concerns and I just want to trot through them, or I am just too caught up in myself and my own troubles that actually I just want God to see what I am doing as if that is more important than what He is doing!!
Whereas that middle stage is so important; that drawing near, that coming close; that time to pause and listen. It is that stage which leads to conversation, otherwise we are just shouting out our requests and then getting on with our day.
And ofcourse we have the wonderful promises that God ‘will be found by us’; He will not hide Himself from us; but He hears us, we can find Him and He will listen!
So let us: Call upon the Lord. Let us come before Him, draw near to Him and then let the conversation begin – pray.