Devotional Day 3

Praying with Intensity


Our prayers should not only be intentional, they should also be intense. 

Jeremiah 29:13 says if we seek God, we will find him. The Amplified version clarifies the word “seek” like this… “to inquire for, and require as a vital necessity”. It goes on to say we should seek him with our whole heart. 

This seems like pretty intense prayer to me. Do you pray to God as if he is a vital necessity? I’m ashamed to admit I pray more that God will supply my vital necessities rather than treat Him as one. 

I can count on one hand the times I feel my prayers were this kind of intense and yet I feel like this should be the norm and not the exception. This intensity is where God says He will be found. 

In our busy non-stop world, with lengthy to do lists and crazy schedules, prayers can become pretty quick and shallow… A bit like a text message. Our minds want to focus on God… but did I turn off the oven? Did I pay that bill? Did I clean the litter box? This is not wholehearted prayer. 

I find in order to engage my whole heart, and my whole brain for that matter, it helps to write my prayers out. Perhaps you need to write your prayers, speak them out loud, or even sing them. In Psalms we have a whole book of intense prayers which were written, spoken or set to music. This is wholehearted prayer. 

Sometimes, what we need to say to God, and perhaps what God needs to say to us, is so intense there aren’t adequate words to express it. Sometimes the most intense prayer, the most cleansing prayer, is a powerful sob. Romans 8:26 says the Spirit intercedes during these times with groans too deep for words.

Of all the prayers in the Bible, the prayer of Manasseh has to be one of the most intense. Manasseh became King of Judah when he was 12. For a while, he co-ruled with his father, Hezekiah, but when he got the throne for himself, his list of accomplishments was nothing to be proud of. He was vile. He rebuilt all the pagan shrines his father had torn down, set up an idol in God’s temple and even sacrificed his own sons in fire. Manasseh led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to levels of evil they hadn’t experienced before. God tried to speak to the people, but He was ignored and so, as a consequence for his intense evil, Manasseh was taken prisoner by the Assyrian armies. He was led away in chains by a ring put in his nose. How humiliating! How humbling! This distress woke him up though, and verse 13 of 2 Chronicles 33 says “when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request.” How intense must this prayer have been? After a lifetime of evil, Manasseh prayed a prayer so deep and intense that God was moved enough to restore him back to Jerusalem where he set about to make things right. 

 Not many of us have the kind of background Manasseh has, but God doesn’t want our prayers to be any less intense. He wants our whole heart, nothing held back. No brief texts, but fervent face to face prayers. What could God turn around in our lives if we realize and acknowledge He alone is what we need?

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