Saturday, January 12, 2013

Prayer as Relationship

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He responded with what is known as The Lord’s Prayer.  I’ve heard it said that it would more appropriately called the disciple’s prayer.  No matter what we call it, it appears that it is the first lesson Jesus taught on how to pray.  Many books have been written about using this prayer as an outline.  I choose to start with this scripture because it is the direction of Jesus. He said,

“In this manner, therefore, pray:  Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”  (Matthew 6:9-13)

As I said in the last blog, it is all about relationship with the Father!  For some, this throws up a red flag since Father has a derogatory connotation for them.  I pray for these because this is a very real problem.  I pray for them to be able by the power of the Holy Spirit to have a revelation that the Father in heaven is not to be compared to any Father, perfect or imperfect, who ever lived in the flesh!  There is no comparison.
(James 1:16-18) “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of all that gives light, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. And it was of His own free will that He gave us birth as children by His Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures—a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself.”   It is about a Father and child relationship.

There is so much that could be said at this point, but I think the main thought is that prayer is about relating to God as a Father from the position of His child.  I have heard so many people say they just have a hard time praying or “doing devotions.”  Devotions are great tools to help people get into the way of prayer, but sometimes they stand in the way of us just bowing our head and beginning with “Daddy, here I am today and I come to tell you that it is my desire for honor to brought to your name through my life."  For many, it becomes a rule to do devotions rather than a way into that precious relationship meant for us.

I love the scripture that says we must become childlike to enter the kingdom of heaven because how could it be simpler than that?  Unfortunately, that is a difficult saying for some who were never really allowed to be children or had negative experiences as children.  Again, I pray for healing for them.  I know this because I was such a one with an experience of an absent father who could not be trusted to do much of anything for me.  I needed a healing of the mind and heart to come to the place where I could believe that my heavenly Father was not like that at all.

I have found my heavenly Father to be almost exactly opposite of the earthly father to whom I was born.  My Father in heaven, to whom I refer as my Daddy Shammah (means the God who is always present) is always excited to see me when I come into His presence, I find Him waiting and ready for me.  I even learned along the way that it was alright to just jump up into His lap and settle in for a warm visit.  I have found that I could come to Him with anything and everything that was of concern to me and He would really care.  In time, my love for Him has grown to immense proportions and, along with it, my trust.

I guess the sweetest thing that has happened over the years is that I have found Him to be that ever present One to whom I can always bound boldly into the throne room to find help in time of need, or to Whom I can come just to spend time with Him in His healing presence.  Sometimes, I come now just to be with Him and tell Him how wonderful I think He is and to give Him my praise and adoration.  It has been a considerably long journey for me to this place of trust but it has been one in which I have found Him always faithful to do His part..

I guess the conclusion for today is prayer must begin like any other conversation with someone you love.  When I say good morning to my beloved husband it is never out of duty but out of the joy of seeing him each day and knowing that we have another day to spend together.  It is with great anticipation that I greet him each morning and, quite simply, it is the same with my heavenly Father.

I pray for those of you who need a fresh revelation of the part relationship plays in prayer.  I ask the Son of God to reveal the Father to you today.  I encourage you to sit down, bow your head, and invite Him to come to you.  He will be there.  Just talk to Him, and then quietly listen for awhile.  Write down what you hear.

May the Son be shining in His full strength upon you today as you seek the Father of us all.  It is the will of Jesus and the will of the Father for us to have such a relationship through the power of His Holy Spirit.  May it be so for you today!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Prayer:  is it talking, listening or both?

Here we are at the first of the year in January 2013.  2012 has come and gone and I barely know what happened to the days and hours that made up the year.  I know I have a desire to write this blog, but there are so many other demands on my time, I hardly know how that will possibly happen outside of the intervention of the Lord.  Today I commit my works and my way into the hands of the Lord, and ask Him to establish the thoughts of my heart in line with His will for me.

Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass!”   And, Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts will be established.”  Our way and our works!  Isn’t that all there is to our lives?  The way we choose to go is the most important decision we will ever make.  I choose to go in the way of the Lord.  Then I believe that my works and thoughts will be established.

I remember once studying out the word established.  It has so much rich meaning.  For instance, it means to be established on a firm foundation from which one cannot be shaken.  If my first choice is to live in His way and to have Him be Lord of my life, how can I miss?  He and His word will be my firm foundation and then all else will flow from there.  The Amplified Version of Proverbs 16:3 says “Roll your works upon the Lord, commit and trust them wholly to Him.  He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will and so your plans will be established and succeed.”  WOW!

So my word for this year is “Commit”.  I choose for my life and time to be committed to His will and plans and purposes and I will trust that if I will just daily do such committing I can trust Him to guide my thoughts into the place He would have me to be for that day.  It may be a day of prayer and Bible study leading to an inspirational blog.  Or, it may be a day of being present to the ones God has given me to love and to cover in prayer.

Of this I am certain, there are two very important things in this life of mine.  One is my love relationship with Him including listening to Him and talking to Him in an exercise that most of us call prayer.  The second is like it, it is to love my neighbor as myself and that is those persons to whom I am connected in my world. (Matthew 22:36-40) Scripture indicates that if I am doing these two, I will stand a good chance of fulfilling everything else important.

To my blogger friends, I apologize for my absence for the past month.  First, of course, there were the holidays during which we are all so busy we don’t know if we are coming or going.   Ours culminated in a celebration of the birth of Jesus with our family now known as the “second annual Biltmore Family Christmas”.  It was delightful and worth every effort spent to bring us together in such a way.  Soon after that, I succumbed to one of the bugs that have been flying around and I have been under the weather up til now.  Still not completely out of the woods so I would covet your prayers for complete healing, please.

Let me just state that I do truly believe it is the will of my Lord for me to write and now that I have the direction to “commit” each day and all of my way and my works to Him, we will see what comes forth from this computer.  I have come to the conclusion that both listening and talking are very important to the exercise of effective prayer and so I pray for a way to communicate that in an intelligible fashion that might aid those who would be looking for direction in those areas.

I received words of encouragement from many of you who agreed with me that prayer is the most important thing we can do and that it is one of the most opposed efforts we will ever try to accomplish.  I think the conclusion I came to is that it must issue from a living and vital relationship with Him, the One who answers those prayers because that is what He has been after since the dawn of creation.  It is relationship with us that He desires!  Difficult as that is for us to believe sometimes, it is really true.  He created us for relationship to Him!  There, with Him,  is where we will find our place of rest and fulfillment, meaning and purpose.

I pray the Son of God is shining brightly into your world today and that you will be challenged to commit your way and your works unto the Lord today and every day forthcoming.  Many blessings to you all,