How do you get to know someone?
I met Jennifer on a blind date. We had mutual friends who thought we should meet. So on a beautiful spring day in May, I drove to a farmyard in Plum Coulee, Manitoba. She walked out of the big white farmhouse and I was taken! With dancing blue eyes, a beautiful smile and a quick laugh, there was an unexplainable joy radiating from her. We spent the day together with our friends, talking laughing and listening. Those were the days before cell phones, texting, and the host of other methods of communication we have today.
We began to see each other on weekends, and during the week, and many conversations on the phone. Our relationship was growing, deepening. Just over two years later, we were married; a young couple with dreams to build a life together. During our 28 years of marriage, we have continued to try to communicate (it’s not perfect), to share our hearts, our hopes, our dreams, our hurts and our cares.
How well would I have gotten to know her, if I just went to her with a list of requests? Or what if I would just talked TO her … not letting her get a word in? What if I never listened? What if my conversations with her would have just been superficial, never letting her in on the stuff with which I struggle, or need her help or advice – that other perspective?
Now let’s consider how we pray … why do we pray? Do we come before God with our list of requests? Do we mutter hasty requests as we go about the busyness of our day? Do we take time to listen, spend time in His presence? We can’t cultivate intimacy with people that way, so what makes us think we can get to know the heart of God that way?
If we desire to know God and make Him known, it’s about relationship, about intimacy with Him.
We are told in Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”. What a great promise from God!
Prayer is not about twisting God’s arm to get Him to do what we think He should do. It is about aligning our heart and mind with God’s. Prayer is about spending enough time with God that we see His Vision for His Community, for His Church, for His people (remember – not just the believers) … and for me.
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
While in jail, comfort was not a concern for Paul. He was concerned for the people of Colossae; concerned that God would open doors for opportunities to proclaim the Gospel, concerned that the people of the Church would make the most of THEIR opportunities. It is evident Paul was in tune with God’s Vision. He was concerned about the waiting harvest.
2 He [Jesus] told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
The harvest is plentiful! The vast majority of our Nation is headed for a Christ-less eternity. The fastest growing segment of the population is the “religiously unaffiliated”. In 2016, 39% of those under the age of 30 identified this way. These people are resistant to religion, but are longing for the Gospel. They are looking for meaning and relationship.
Are our hearts in tune? As followers of Jesus, who we are and what we do flows from our relationship with Christ. We need to rely on the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to give us a hunger for, an understanding of, and the opportunity to experience and share of the Love of God with others.
Do we desire to Know God and Make Him Known?
Does our heart break for the lost around us?
Do we want to see our friends and family become devoted followers of Jesus?
Do we want to see God open the eyes of our church to the needs of our community and see it transformed by the power of the Gospel?
If this is our heart, then it is becoming tuned in to the heart of God. These changes cannot happen by our own understanding, or by our own ability. These are the situations that should cause us to drop to our knees in prayer. To pray diligently, tapping into the power of God.
Prayer is not just another option for us; something to pick up and put down for our own purposes.
Prayer is tapping into the mighty power of God!
We know prayer can increase our ministry.
We know prayer will boost the harvest.
We pray so we can lead.
We pray so we can work.
We pray so we can preach.
We pray so we can accomplish what God wants us to accomplish.
We pray so we can talk to God.
We pray so we can hear from God.
Prayer doesn’t change things; God changes things! It is not prayer or even a life of prayer that brings us power, it is the God to whom we pray who has all power.
Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
The church has been called to do something: pray continually! You and I have been called to do something: pray continually.
We are to pray diligently. Prayer is not simply a step of the journey, prayer is the journey. When we realize this, we begin to understand prayer as a continual conversation with God and our relationship with God deepens to new levels.
Prayer is essential in the life of a disciple. Whatever has gone on in the past, you can decide today that you are going to become a person who prays. We need to pray for others and we need them to pray for us.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
It starts there … It’s Time …