But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6 – NLT)
Prayer is one of those spiritual principles that I have been trying to wrap my understanding around all my Christian life. One of the issues I had is the idea of talking to God, but not seeing anything happening. I am told that God’s answer is always yes, no or wait, but is this really true when Scripture says, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20 – NKJV). Or even more profound are the Words of Jesus, “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do
So, what really is prayer? How do you make this divine connection that I have been reading about from Genesis to Revelation? How do you maintain that connection?
I get jealous of the people I read about in Scripture because they all seem to have this genuine, natural relationship with God with immaculate communication. That’s what I want. I don’t want the screaming, with punching fists and spit flying all over the place, sweating, breathing hard and crushing all kinds of ‘existing or non-existing’ evil entities. All I want is to have a real conversation with our real God. Now, imagine my shock when I read this Scripture:
Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” (John 11:40-42 – NKJV).
The first line of Jesus’ very short prayer before a great miracle (Raising dead Lazarus) was, “Father, I thank You that You have heard me…” When did Jesus pray exactly for the Father to hear Him? Where is this prayer recorded? There is only one instance that I can think of where Jesus’ prayer is recorded, and that is in John 17. In the garden of Gethsemane, that very short prayer could not have lasted an hour, so I assume we just got a really small taste of it. Otherwise, we are just told He is gone off somewhere to pray, without really saying what prayer is. Jesus even taught that prayer had nothing to do with a public display of articulation and charisma, but a private practice. I wish I had time to really unpack this, but if the Holy Spirit in us is always in communication with God, then there is a constant communication going on between God and Himself, from our perspective. I believe prayer is us joining in, or tapping in, or plugging into that connection, sort of like a conference call.
To be continued:
Father, thank You that You hear me. Thank You that You have always heard me. I pray that I will become an active participant in the conversation taking place between the Holy Spirit in me, and You, Father, so I may live and make decisions out of the conversations we continually have, in Jesus Name. Amen.