I will bring them to My holy mountain and let them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar, for My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56:7 (HCSB)

It has been said, prayer takes work, it works and is the work! But prayer is so much more. If prayer is a burden, a job and a work for you, you’re missing a huge component of it! There is more to prayer than simply laying your petitions and requests before God. Yes, He can and does answer our prayers, but He actually longs for our communion more than our requests.

When we boldly and confidently come into His presence, there is much waiting for us. First, He wants to speak to us, but if we’re always talking we won’t make space to listen. Jesus said His sheep hear His voice (John 10:27). Second, there is joy in His presence. Joy is not circumstantial, nor is it the same as happiness! Joy is in His presence because He is joyful (Psalm 16:11, 21:6). 

Third, as such, our praying should be enjoyable. I realize that there are times we must travail or intercede with groans beyond words (Romans 8:26), but if that’s all we experience of God we will burn out! So if your prayer isn’t enjoyable, you will not look forward to it. Once you get this concept, you’ll see that Paul’s instruction to pray without ceasing is actually achievable. Interestingly, right before he says to pray continually, he says be joyful always (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17).

God even tells us that our corporate prayer is to be enjoyable. He says that He gives us joy in the house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7). At Athens House of Prayer we believe this. As we spend time lingering in God’s presence, the byproduct is a joyful environment. Our harp & bowl model supports this lingering in His presence!

And as we linger in His joy filled presence joy will grow in our life. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

As we linger in His presence, joy of the LORD will become our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). No wonder the psalmist encourages us to seek His presence continually, for in Him us strength (Psalm 105:4). 

Btw, it has been proven, we become like that which we seek, that which we gaze upon, which we linger in. As we linger in God’s presence, we can’t help become more like Him!

If you’re not experiencing joyful prayer, ask God to restore the joy of your salvation (Psalm 51:12). Ask Him to send you out with joy and peace, so that the mountains burst forth in song before you (Isaiah 55:12). Ask God to pour out upon you the oil of joy (Isaiah 61:3) so that wherever you go today the atmosphere would change from heaviness to praise. Pray for your pastor to desire to linger more in God’s presence and to be able to lead your church forward in joy!