Three Helpful Questions
Lately, I’ve been using a tool for my prayer time that asks three questions. I’d like to share them with you in hopes that they bring as much clarity to your prayers as they have to mine. Because walking with God is a matter of the heart, these three questions zero in on heart level issues. Here they are:
What is on my heart?
What is in my heart?
What is God’s heart?
First, I ask what is on my heart. That is, what are the issues, ideas, and relationships I’m dealing with? What is going on in my life? This list could include career plans, family relationships, friendships, vacation plans, or even this blog. I take all the circumstances, ambitions, stressors, factors, and people that populate my days and lay them before God. I write them down. I ask God to work.
Then, I dig deeper. I ask what is in my heart. That is, what are the contents of my soul? How are the issues of my life (first question) affecting me? This is the old Quaker question: How is it with your soul? Again, I write down what I find there. This list might include fear, pride, lust or anger. It might also include gratitude, hope, joy, or peace.
Finally, with the issues of my life and the content of my heart laid bare, I ask God what he thinks. I ask him to address the lists I’ve created on the paper. I go to the scriptures. I read a passage in my daily Bible reading plan, and I ask God what he has to say to me in those pages. I write down ideas. I pray for insight.
This is a discipline for inviting God into my life, not a formula for putting God in a corner or getting step-by-step instructions. Often the passage I read has nothing to do with the issues of my life. Sometimes God seems to whisper something completely unrelated. But often, the scriptures speak truth that is applicable to my circumstances — even to the very meetings on my day planner.
This practice doesn’t come from the Bible or from any hero of church history. I can only commend it on the basis of its usefulness in my own life. I hope you find it useful too.