Prayer is not just asking for things (though it certainly entails requests), but entering in to a submissive relationship with our Creator. What prayer does, when done properly, is to focus ourselves in our appropriate position to the world and to God. If we’re not praying frequently and in a particular kind of way, it is very easy to think our Christian enterprise is a solitary enterprise with us at the center and no one else much involved. And so our acknowledgment of God in prayer is a matter of posture.
That prayer posture is acknowledging our creatureliness before God and our deep and desperate need of Him in every situation in life. I think each day requires a humble acknowledgment of “I desperately need you, Lord.” This is not a feeling, but an acknowledgment of the truth, and the more we acknowledge it — the more we “put it on” — the more it completely sinks into our bones.
If we don’t consciously remind ourselves of our dependence on Him, it’s easy to begin thinking we are not dependent and acting as if we are not dependent, and the center shifts so that we become the center and not God and His purposes.
That’s why the continual acknowledgment is not of the feeling of our dependence on and our need for Christ each day and in everything, but of the fact of our need for Christ each day in everything for every circumstance, to satisfy every need, to accomplish every purpose, and to forgive every sin.
I think this is what it means in John 15 when Jesus talks about abiding in Him, to be connected with Him, to have a kind of unhindered communion. This posture takes daily cultivation, constantly reminding ourselves of what anchors our souls.
This is not a resolution to pray more, but to pray differently - daily, seeking to abide, drawing strength from God, acknowledging our need of Jesus Christ. Each day requires a humble acknowledgment of “I desperately need you, Lord,” not as a feeling, but as an acknowledgment of the truth. And the more we acknowledge this, the more we practice this posture, the more it sinks into our bones.
The pursuit of the life of the mind is not standing out there all by itself, but is in the context of a rich, humble devotion to Jesus Christ, an act of surrender, humility, acknowledgment of abiding in Christ that gives the “the divine perspective, insight, direction, and courage the leader must have to serve well…to keep [us] from blundering into either hubris or despair.”