COMMUNICATING WITH GOD
Ok … So we now 7 days into our 21 days of prayer and fasting and we haven’t really talked about the prayer part. so that is what we are going to do today and the next 9 days of this blog. Today and tomorrow are are going to go through the pattern of prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples and the next 8 days will be focused on the the 8 redemptive names that God gave to us. Each of these names demand that we answer a question and that question will be part of our focus throughout the day. You will find that these question cut right to our core and will cause us to really evaluate our lives and how we live them. It is good stuff that you won’t want to miss.
WHAT IS PERSONAL PRAYER
BUT, for today lets talk about prayer:) Prayer is the fuel that we need for our daily lives. Especially during a fast, it is a way in which we can plug into and rely on God to give us the strength and energy to get through the day and still love in the process. With out this fuel you may find that you will sputter and sometime come to a complete halt not knowing how to move forward. You lose the purpose of fast and let go of those things that you are believing for (remember the DAY 3 post?). The issue for a lot of us is then either: “What is prayer really?” or “How do I really pray?”. We may not ask the question, I have found that many people struggle with what it is supposed to look like, what’s it’s true purpose is and it can be a little embarrassing as a Christian to state that you don’t really get it (even though it is fairly common among believers).
First we know that Jesus prayed (Luke 3:21, Luke 5:16 and Luke 6:12). As Christ followers we should be following the ways of Christ. Jesus prayed, therefore, we should pray.
MEETING, DATING AND MARRYING
You should also know that the foundation of prayer is your relationship with God. Prayer is simply having an ongoing conversation with God. As we all know, the type of conversation you have with someone is greatly dependent upon the kind of relationship you have with the person. I like to look at the difference between meeting someone, dating them and then marrying them. When you meet someone and they intrigue you, you might them have surface level conversations about likes and dislikes or whatever. You don’t really know them. I mean you know who they are, but you don’t really know them in any significant way. If you want to get to know them, that is called dating. You think … hmmmm … there is a possibility this could go somewhere, based solely on attraction and commonalities. In dating you then have many conversations about deeper things. You want to really get to know them. You become interested in everything they are interested in. You will drop everything you are doing at the drop of a hat to spend more time with them and sleep isn’t an issue. You find out what you can ask of them and what you are willing to do for them. Then you ask the ultimate thing from them and say. The question is: “Are you willing to spend the rest of your life with me, commit to only me and eventually start a family?” In other words … “Will you marry me?”. In marriage, you are completely committed. You commit to living your life for the good of your spouse and kids. You enter deeper levels of understanding about the one you are committed to. You communicate in deeper ways. You have an intimacy not experienced in the dating relationship. But, if you don’t watch it, if communication deteriorates, so does your relationship. You have to add dating back into your marriage and communicate with the same intensity you did then if you are to maintain a healthy relationship.
COMMITTED TO CHRIST
So, all of that is nothing new, right? What we might not have considered is that our prayer life goes through the same transitions. At first God intrigues as and our conversations (prayers) are fairly superficial. Once you realize God is for you and you realize that you want to know more about Him. You date God. Your conversations become more frequent, you reveal your struggles, you ask Him His thoughts, you even stop talking as much and start listening to the response. Eventually the more you realize what he is willing to do (supplemented by the beautiful love letter He wrote you … i.e. The Bible) and what you are will to do for Him, you relationship grows. Even to the point of saying: “I want to commit the rest of my life to you, I want to enter into a marriage type covenant with you”. Many of us are simply dating God. We want the benefits of a relationship with actually full commit. Your conversations (i.e. prayer) will never actually progress beyond dating if that is the case. When you are fully committed, you realize just how much He is committed to you. You realize the boundaries of what He is willing to do for you are way greater than you ever imagined. You also realize that your boundaries have increase and are way greater as well. Your conversations become way more intimate. You sometime even argue, because you don’t understand and need to. Your love deepens to new levels and so does your understanding. If you have ever experienced this you know that you need the dating intensity to remain through the rest of the relationship or it will fade and along with it, your passion, understanding and love. Dive deep and remember the more you give and the more committed you are the better your prayer life will be … and the more power to will see from it. (kinda like marriage)
Now that we have covered the foundation, tomorrow we will cover the how. Jesus actually spells it out in plain terms for us.