If we want to experience sincere joy in the Lord in our daily lives, we must seek God in prayer, praying for joy.
The Wrong Approach to Prayer | Praying for Joy
Instead of going through the steps of aligning our minds with Christ’s purpose and promise, we often start the process of trying to experience joy in the Lord by praying for it. As a result, we can approach God like petulant children, demanding our way and wants. We often think if only God does “this” then we will find peace and experience joy. The “this” in the equation though is a product of our frail human state and subject to the whims and ways of this fallen, sinful world.
- We pray asking for more while not recognizing what has come before.
- The purpose of our prayers is to fulfill our selfishness.
Are our hearts and souls satisfied by this approach? Then why continue it?
Looking to God | Praying for Joy
Instead of jumping to our demands and treating God like a genie in a bottle, let’s start the process of approaching God in prayer by:
Then, with expectation, lets:
Open your mouth wide, and let Him fill it with the unsearchable riches of Christ, the knowledge of God, “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8).
Lloyd-Jones, David Martyn, and Christopher Catherwood. Seeking the Face of God: Nine Reflections on the Psalms. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2005. Print.
As We Pray | Praying for Joy
Once we have correctly aligned our sight and focus on God, what he has done for us, and what he has promised to do still, we give Him thanks. Then in prayer, we should:
- Ask that we may know Him more.
- Seek His promises be fulfilled in us/for us.
- Maintain an attitude and heart of praise.
- Continue praying.
- Don’t stop asking.
Does this mean we do not voice our concerns, hurts, and desires to him? Not at all! God loves us and wants to care for us in every instance of our lives.
What it does mean, is that we trust God with the solution to those concerns, hurts, and desires, recognizing His ways are perfect. They are better than anything we could devise.
God Answers When We Pray | Praying for Joy
Jesus himself, as he taught and as his words appear in Scripture, promised his people that God answers our prayers:
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:9–13. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016. Print.
We cling to this promise. It is true.
There is one problem with the way we remember the promise though. We understand it to mean that whatever we ask, God will give it because he is a good father! That is not what Jesus is promising!
Look at the last sentence of the quote above. Jesus is promising that,Anyone who asks God for the Holy Spirit will receive Him.Click To Tweet
So what does this have to do with Joy? How does this bring us to a place where we perpetually experience joy in spite of any circumstances? In short, what good is this?
Our Joy is in the Lord | Praying for Joy
I started this series as I struggled to find joy in the Lord amid my diagnosis and suffering of major depression and general anxiety. Bottoming out in my circumstances, I could not comprehend the concept of joy in the bleakness of my emotional state.
Here is the simple truth I have found on this journey:Joy is not based on circumstance. It is the reality and presence of the Holy Spirit in me.Click To Tweet
Can I be suffering and still experience joy? Yes. Just as so many before me, just as you, the knowledge of what God has done, is doing, and will do coupled with His Holy Spirit dwelling in me, allows me to know His Joy in every situation.
The Truth of Joy
I do not deserve God. The truth is, I deserve whatever horrible thing comes my way. Many of those dire situations, if not all, are direct consequences of my actions. Yet, God loves me still and fills me with His Spirit and promise. He does not deny me just because of my circumstances.
Embracing and understanding this truth, I can echo the words of David and Paul:
Joy is not about all our problems going away. Joy is knowing God in a personal, life-changing way.Click To Tweet
I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:8-11. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016. Print.
…Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Phillippians 1:18b-21. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016. Print.
I encourage you today, seek God. Go to Him in prayer and ask for His Spirit. It will be given to you, and you will know Joy that surpasses all understanding!