Those first words as we pray are sometimes the hardest. It’s like breaking a seal. Once we do it, we can find a flow, but until we do, any little distraction can steal our attention: a phantom phone vibration, a fly buzzing in the next room or something on our to-do list… weeks from now. It doesn’t take much to sidetrack us as we enter into prayer!
So, I wanted to talk about adoration. The more I read on prayer, the more I see what a vital thing it is to start our prayers with.
What exactly is adoration?
It’s just another name for worship or praise. And though we know God is big and mighty and worthy of all our praise, finding the words for expressing it can be easier said than done. In fact, recently we asked where you get stuck in prepping your prayer journals and so many mentioned the Adoration section.
Here are a few thoughts on adoration that I hope will “grease the wheels” 😉 of your conversation with the Lord and lead to a sweet impactful time with Him:
1. It doesn’t just glorify God, it shifts our hearts.
Paul Billheimer says, “The worship and praise of God demands a shift of center from self to God. … Praise produces forgetfulness of self–and forgetfulness of self is health.”
Distractions will always win our attention when they appear bigger than God. As we praise God, He gets bigger than whatever has held our attention. The reality is, He doesn’t change in size, but our perspective of Him does. which is what shifts our hearts to see Him how He really is and helps the rest to fade away.
2. When we adore, the enemy retreats.
Billheimer also says, “Satan is allergic to praise, so where there is massive triumphant praise, Satan is paralyzed, bound and banished.”
Maybe that last part about distractions fading made you laugh. They aren’t small things and it’s because we have an enemy constantly looking to distract us because he knows the power of prayer. When you find yourself distracted, belt out praise as loudly as you can and seek His face letting your enemy know that his attacks will be fruitless.
3. It motivates our prayers.
In the Yearly Prayer Journal, I share about the four parts of prayer we see in Scripture: adoration, confession, supplication and thanksgiving or (ACTS if you prefer that order!). When we start our prayers by lifting praise to the Lord for who He is (Adoration), it prepares our hearts to move into the other three parts.
- Acknowledging His sovereignty as I confess to Him (Confession)
- Humbling ourselves to make requests of Him (Supplication)
- Recognizing his provision and thanking Him (Thanksgiving)
If I don’t know He is capable of forgiving my sins, responding to my needs, and that He is in fact the source of every good thing in my life, it’s hard to continue in prayer authentically.
4. We can discover how to “adore” God by reading Scripture.
I used to mainly read my Bible identifying with the character in the story. What did I have to learn from the story of Hannah praying for a son? Or Martha being rebuked for her hard work? Over the years, I’ve made a point to see God in the stories first, and this year I’m more naturally seeing God first and I’m seriously blown away by Him. That might sound funny, but make a point to read Scripture and look for the characteristics of who God is and write them down! Reference this list as you start your prayers or fill in the Adoration section of your prayer journal.
5. It can propel you into a day of worship.
Adoration isn’t something to check off the list for the day by 7 AM. Pray for God to make you alert throughout your day to who He is. See Him in nature, music and even the mundane. We are flooded with opportunities to praise the Lord, but if we don’t make room we’ll miss them and likely diminish in our minds how amazing God is.
6. Look outside the box.
In the first issue of our Compose newspaper, we shared some ideas to get you started. The majority were not ones quickly identified as characteristics or attributes of God. If we’re gonna praise God each day of our lives, doesn’t it make sense that there are so many random facets we could acknowledge instead of the official attributes of God? Here are a few I shared:
- PATH-SETTER – The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. – Psalm 32:8 NLT
- RICH IN MERCY – But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. – Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV
- A GOD WHO SPEAKS: Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. – Isaiah 30:21 NLT
- MY SUPPLIER: The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. – Psalm. 145:15-16 ESV
- HOLY and NEAR: I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. – Leviticus 26:12 NIV
- THE GOD OF SMALL BEGINNINGS: Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. – Zechariah 4:10a NLT
Sara Hagerty recently wrote a book called Adore and it includes 31 days of characteristics of God to meditate on. If you’re wondering how to practically do this, definitely grab it. I love the way she lays it out!
7. START TODAY.
I know this feels basic, but I also know it’s easy to read a post and get lots of ideas and even feel overwhelmed by said ideas to the point of just feeling paralyzed. Don’t overthink it. Just start. Here’s what we include in the Yearly Prayer Journal as a little help when you feel stuck. Read one of the passages and answer a question or two as part of your prayer time.
SCRIPTURES TO MEDITATE ON: Psalm 8, Revelation 4, Psalm 100, Psalm 104, Psalm 136, Psalm 139
QUESTIONS TO MEDITATE ON: Who is God? What words describe Him? What things make Him different from all other gods? What makes Him different from any human?
Don’t have our Yearly Prayer Journal? Our Compose Prayer Journal (6-Month) doesn’t have a designated Adoration section, but include adoration on the Scripture page OR use the blank side facing the new month and write down the answers to the questions above, Scripture and praise to start your prayers with!
Which one of these points would you like to incorporate into your adoration practice? Or what are some of your favorite characteristics of God to meditate on?