If I delight in a person, perhaps a good friend, or a small child, or someone close to me, it doesn’t matter much what we talk about because just being together is total pleasure. Prayer is supposed to be like that.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. (Psalm 37:4–6)
I’ve prayed with a ‘shopping list’ as if God is a genie and offering me three wishes. I’ve prayed in needy agony. I’ve also prayer in delight at answers to my prayers. Yet, as Stephen Charnock says in today’s devotional, the real objective in prayer is learning how to delight in God, to commune with Him in delicious enjoyment because being with Him is total pleasure. All requests take second place.
God is the center of everything. In Him, my soul rests. He is the ultimate good, the One that is without self-centeredness in any part of Him. Being with Him is pure delight, or it should be. To experience this, I must know Him truly, even know Him fully. If I have suspicions of Him, mistrust or fear, anxiety or resentment, then there can be no delight.
Delight is a grace, and, as faith, desire, and love have God for their object, so does this, but how can I be delighted in God? It helps me to realize that God delights in me. This is how He comes to the conversation of prayer…
For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. (Psalm 149:4, NIV)
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
How can He do that? I am a sinful person, yet He delights in me? What a wonder!
I know that only the Gospel makes it so. The Lord loves sinners, sent Jesus to pay my price for sin, and because of the Cross and the resurrection, He declares me forgiven, washed, cleansed. In Christ, I am made righteous. If He loved me even as a sinner, how much greater is His delight in that grace and faith has made me a new creation?
The Bible says that we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Love is a response to His love. This surely means delight is also a response and I can delight in Him because He delights in me. This joyous communication called prayer is a two-way communication of delight. It isn’t about rattling off a list, or a sense of duty, or even about telling Him all our troubles. It isn’t even about praise, although delight tends to produce it. Prayer is about approaching God because He is altogether a delight to be with, to talk to, to enjoy. Without sweet thoughts of God, desire for prayer will come and go, but delight makes it a major occupation of my heart.
Also, when I truly delight in Him, He works to make me more like Jesus — for He gives me the desires of my heart, desires that fit with His, desires that open the way for His righteousness to shine in my life.
I’m impressed and totally delighted with this amazing arrangement!