I’ve been thinking a lot lately about prayer. For some, including myself, prayer is as natural as breathing. It has become so much a part of our innermost being and ongoing conversation with God, that if it were removed from our lives it would be like the great divorce, or sudden death. The very breath of our being cut off. We would be sure to wither back into a state of depravity, suffocating under the weight of a thick darkness that blocks the very expressions of our souls. Darkness would pervade snuffing out the very photosynthesis that causes our growth.
As I write, I imagine prayer to be somewhat of a portal to heaven. Words released that travel through time and space, instantaneously, and even often before we speak them, into this unknown realm our hearts and physical bodies crave to be and one day catch up with. What happens when these expressions…words…groans… get there is still a holy mystery, yet through the pages of God’s voice to us in His living and active Word…we get a glimpse of what happens when our words, through prayer, arrive Home, in our Abba Daddy’s heart.
Do our prayers really move the heart of God? I mean, do they really move God’s heart into acting on our behalf? Is there power in our prayers? Does God change His mind when we pray? Can we really expect to see miracles and healings through prayer? how integral of the Christ following life should prayer be? I will answer the last question first and then see if I am able to get to the others, in maybe a series of blogs.
Prayer is our communication with God. through the brutality and blood of the Cross, the veil of the temple was torn and we now have FULL access to our Father in heaven through prayer. Hebrews 4:16 tells us we can now come boldly and confidently before Him….this is good news and we will look at those two words “boldly” and “confidently” in a bit. But what happens if we aren’t praying? Simply put, if we are not praying, He has no obligation to hear us, answer us, or even be in vibrant relationship with us. Let me put it this way. If you are married and aren’t communicating with your spouse, the relationship will soon deteriorate, pervasive loneliness will set in, and the once vibrant and adventurous river that the two of you once explored together, will soon become stagnant, a cesspool of unseen bacteria infecting all who drink from it. Many marriages fail because they were never taught the art of conversation…the spontaneity of it, the beauty of it, the ebb and flow of it, the hush of it, the tears of it, the laughter of it and the full on mad of it, all interwoven in and through words spoken to another out of the outflow of a heart of clay fashioned and formed by the Potter.
Yes, art…. Yes, formed by the hands of God to communicate, first to God and then to one another. And, like an artist, who is quickened to an idea, a concept, an insight, a broken heart, a story they long to tell, a picture of victory, a tale of tragedy, they long to share with the world, until it finds its way out, it will only yearn to give birth never fully coming to fruition succumbing to death in the womb of its own selfishly hidden ideas. If the birth pangs prolong and there is none to deliver or receive this new gift, it will surely die.
And so it is with prayer…the art of conversation with a tender loving Father engaging the longings and stories of our hearts breathed out in whispers, tears, wailing and silence, laughter and anger, captured and received by the hands and heart of God. When these expressions fall into His hands, He often uses them to bestow blessings and gifts on ourselves and others.
Woe to those who dream but do not pray…for their dreams will die within their own thoughts and minds and they will never know the rapturous joy of releasing them to the One who longs to hear their voiceless longings humbly placed into the language of prayer.
I hope to continue this series on prayer…and would love to join with you in any prayer requests you may have. Please feel free to list them in the comments.
Thank you for letting me explore the language and art of prayer with you…
intimately held, beautifully known,