As we move through the Old Testament Wisdom Literature in our daily studies this year, we are returning again and again to the book of Psalms, which is the inspired prayer book of the people of God. Moreover, Job’s cries to the Lord are nothing if not a form of prayer, and the book of Proverbs also has much to say on the prayers of God’s people (for example, Prov. 15:29). Prayer is an important discipline to practice if we are to develop godly wisdom, and so we want to have a good understanding of what the entire canon of Scripture has to say about it. Thus, we will take a short break from our studies of the Old Testament Wisdom Literature, or Poetical Books, in order to look at the topic of prayer more broadly. Dr. R.C. Sproul’s teaching series Prayer will direct our study.
Certainly, there is much to keep in mind as we approach the Lord in prayer, but we will not go wrong if our attention is focused on two key truths when we pray: knowing God and knowing ourselves. Knowing the identity of the One to whom we are praying is essential. Over the past few decades, there has been a move toward reducing formality in our culture and making all of our relationships far more casual than our forefathers would have considered them. Although we could perhaps find some positives in this, it is also true that we have lost much in the process. This is particularly evident in our worship. In a very real sense, we have lost an awareness of the One whom we approach in our worship and prayer. All too often we view God as merely a friend. Now certainly it is true that Jesus has granted us the privilege of calling Him “friend” (John 15:15), and we are not denying the truth that our Savior is our friend in the sense of being our loyal—indeed, our only perfectly loyal—companion. However, the problem is that we have turned the concept of the Father and Son as our friends into the Father and Son as our “pals,” as persons who are on essentially the same level that we are. Our Creator, as friendly as His disposition may be to those who have been declared righteous in Christ, is not our pal; rather, He is our Lord. If those who see Him face-to-face in heaven regard Him not as their “pal” or “buddy,” but as their “Sovereign Lord” (Rev. 6:10), then surely we must not approach Him in a casual manner.
So, when we come to the Lord in prayer, we must remember who He is, namely, the great and mighty King to whom belongs all honor and glory (1 Tim. 1:17). We must bow the knee to this holy God, who is not only our friend but also our Master.