I have loved the Lord for as long as I can remember, but as I grew up, there became a disconnect from Him. I do not know exactly when or how it happened, but at some point I stopped seeking the Lord in prayer. While yes, I was praying, I don't know that I was seeking to know Him, to know Him intimately. I think I was more focused on what He could do for me, how He could help me. It was a me focused prayer.
There is no greater relationship than our personal relationship with the Lord. He is our God, our heavenly Father and He knows us to such a great depth that He can tell us the number of hairs on our head (Luke 12: 7) or our deepest desires, ones that we have yet to recognize. He knows our strengths and weaknesses, our temptations, our wants and needs. He knows all of this because He made us. Yet, how do we get to know and understand Him? Is He to be a stranger to us or simply the God of the Bible whom we pray to because we are called to do so, yet our prayers are hollow and empty.
Our relationship with the Lord must be the most important aspect of our lives. It must come before all else. How then do we nurture and strengthen this relationship? I believe two of the most important ways are by talking with Him and then reading His divine words in the Holy Bible. I will write more about reading His Word next Monday, but today I want to focus on learning to talk to the Lord.
The Lord is ready and waiting to hear our prayers and to speak to us through the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us. There is likely no more important time in our day, than the time spent seeking the Lord through prayer and His Word. It's in these most intimate moments with Him that our spirit can be fed. It a time that we can seek the Lord and ask Him to share wisdoms, knowledge and understanding. Too often, we turn to man to give us the information we desire, when in all reality we should simply seek the Lord.
There are far too many churches who continue to feed on the "me" focused prayer. Prayers are centered around what the Lord can do for us, versus what we can do for the Lord. Prayer is not a one sided conversation. We speak to the Lord, we lay out desires out for Him, we lift up our requests before Him, we pray over all those who are so greatly in need, and in the same way, the Lord can speak to us and lay on our heart answers, understandings, wisdoms.
It's very important to set aside time for the Lord. This can be extremely difficult task in the beginning. Satan with do all that he can to keep us from this. There will never be enough time and there will always be too much on our "to do" list or somewhere we need to be. However, in the same way we make time to sleep or else exhaustion would overtake us, we MUST make time to seek the Lord. It's vital to our souls. First and foremost, our day should be structured around the Lord and our time spent praying and reading the Bible. Everything else, work, children, marriages, tasks, chores, to-dos all must take a second seat to us nurturing our relationship with Him.
Besides spending a portion of our day in prayer, we should train ourselves to converse with the Lord throughout our day. We can talk with Him in our cars on our way to work or as we clean our houses or make our meals. Whenever there is a quiet moment we can turn to the Lord and He will always be ready and willing to hear what we want or need to say. To me, what it comes down to, is getting rid of the unseen chasm that stretches out before us and separates us from God. He is right by our side, His Holy Spirit dwells within us and we can be in communication with Him all day long.
If praying to the Lord in a more intimate way is new to you and you are unsure of where to start, try beginning with The Lord's Prayer. It's a beautiful starting point. We must learn to pray in the same way we learn everything else in our lives. It's one step at a time.
Matthew 6: 5-13
"When You pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Pray, then, in this way:
Our Father who is 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 also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen."