How To Pray Downwards Rather Than Upwards
I have heard discussions of an upside down kingdom. Where the weak are strong, the least the greatest among them. It resonates in my spirit...truth from Scripture. But one thing I rarely hear discussed is the idea of downward praying.
What is downward praying?
It’s praying with the kingdom in mind rather than my earthly mindset.
So often my prayers revolve around me. What I think, what I desire, what I need. I spend little time reflecting on what it is that He wants of me. What is God doing in heaven? How can I bring His kingdom down to earth? What mission does He have for me this day?
This is praying downwards.
I didn’t coin the phrase. Lilias Trotter did. But when I read her notes, it started me thinking:
“It has come these days with a new light and power, that the first thing we have to see to, as we draw near to God day by day, is that ‘our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.’ ”
This seems simple enough, but is it?
When I start the day off before the Lord in prayer is my meditation on things above or on all the circumstances surrounding me? Do I pause to picture Him, seated on the throne, surrounded by angels who cry out His holiness night and day? Is my mind set on things above?
To pray downwards my mind must be set on things above.
Meditate on His holiness. He is perfect in His being.
Meditate on His righteousness. He is perfect in His behavior.
We have a God Who is completely other. His thoughts and ways are different from ours. His character does not change. We know Who we are going to. And it those characteristics of Who He is in Scripture that we can cling to.
Our minds must not only be set on things above, but they must pause in the stillness long enough to listen.
I’ve got three pixies who clamor for my attention all day long. They are talkative little ones, and it seems like I never have time to pause and just reflect. But to pray downwards, I must have space and quiet and pause. Moments in my day must be carved out for stillness and uninterruption.
This is so much easier said than done. Sacrifice needs to be made. If it means foregoing that Netflix show or getting up a little earlier, we must be intentional in procuring pause. Time is our greatest commodity, and we squander it when we are unintentional and leave things to chance. If we don’t prioritize the most important things the immediate needs of the day will take over. They may not be the most important, but they are the immediate and the immediate trumps the eternal way too often.
“If we can listen in stillness, till our hearts begin to vibrate to the thing He is thinking and feeling about the matter in question, whether it concerns ourselves or others, we can from that moment begin praying downwards from His throne, instead of praying upwards to Him.”
To pray downwards, let your heart vibrate.
I love the wording here by Trotter. When we take the time to be still, we leave with a vibration inside we cannot produce otherwise. His love moves. His character confirms echoes of hope within us, creating a melody of praise that naturally pours forth. We begin thinking downwards rather than upwards.
No longer am I taking these things of earth and my longings and raising them up, I am taking the things of heaven I have gleamed in the quiet and bringing them down to earth. My focus is on Him and what He says about the issue at hand. Questions, fears, doubts have answers now from above.
I want to bring heaven down to earth. The eternal changes the perspective of my earthly wants and desires. Why would I ever peddle these earthly whims for eternal truths?
"Praying down rather than praying up--that is the summing up: how that the velocity and power of anything that comes down, gains in a ration of high proportion with the height from which it drops. Even from an airplane, a pencil falling will take on the force of a bullet. What might not our prayer power be if it comes down the throne of the Priest, linked with Him."
Lord, may we pray downwards rather than upwards...Thy kingdom come.