We stand to benefit so much through prayer that it sometimes seems like we have everything to gain and nothing to give—but that’s not the way the Lord looks at it at all! It’s true that we need Him for all these things, but the marvelous thing is that He also needs and wants and is in love with us. Time and again, the Bible refers to us as His bride,1 and nothing could better describe the relationship He wants to have with us. So what does the Lord want and need from you?—Much the same things a husband needs from his wife.
He desires loving fellowship and heart-to-heart communication most of all. He wants to know that He has first place in your heart, and the way you show Him that is by spending time with Him in prayer and reading His Word.
He loves to hear you tell Him how wonderful He is and how much you love Him, how you adore Him. He loves for you to praise Him.
He wants to hear you tell Him how much you need Him. Just like a loving husband would, He lives to supply your every need and knows what you need even better than you do.2 Still, He likes for you to bring your requests to Him, because that shows you are depending on Him. Even He needs to feel needed! And of course once He has supplied your need, He loves for you to thank Him, to show appreciation.
He needs your service. He wants to use you as one of His instruments to help accomplish His will “on earth as it is in heaven.”3 He especially needs you to point others to Him and spread His love by being an example of His loving ways to them. But in order to know specifically what He wants you to do and how to do it, you need to spend time with Him, receiving His directions.
I met God in the morning
When my day was at its best,
And His presence came like sunrise,
Like a glory in my breast.
All day long His presence lingered,
All day long He stayed with me,
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O’er a very troubled sea.
Other ships were blown and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed,
But the winds that seemed to drive them,
Brought to us a peace and rest.
Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind,
When I, too, had loosed the moorings,
With His presence left behind.
So I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way:
You must seek Him in the morning,
If you want Him through the day!
—Ralph Spaulding Cushman
There are a lot of Christians who start playing with the gifts of God or the gifts of the Spirit, and neglect God Himself. Like a father coming home with gifts for his children: the kids grab the presents, forget to kiss their father and greet him, and sit down on the floor and start playing with the toys.
Or it’s like the story about the little girl who each day took the time that she normally spent with her father to make him bedroom slippers for his birthday. God may appreciate the bedroom slippers you’re making for Him, but He’d rather have you. And in fact, you’ll probably make an awful mess of them if you neglect Him!—D.B.B.