Hello Christian family,
I wrote something about prayer. This what I have been learning. I hope it accomplishes all that God would intend for it. It is a little long but it would make me HAPPY if you take the time to read it – i’d like to hear your thoughts.
Best to you all, Chelsea
What is prayer, expect a voluntary expression of love to God.
We can make it many other things though. It is possible to come to God in all sorts of postures – fear, performance, eloquence, justification, ritual, approval of man & even superstition.
But we shouldn’t come these ways. Not because they are “bad,” but because they are symptomatic of brokenness in our relationship with HIM. It should be a sign that something may be missing. I do not mean to condemn at all – a sign is just a signal, an opportunity to address what’s at the root. It’s actually good, because if we are humble and willing to hear the truth and change, relationship can be healed and made anew.
Man expresses the likeness of God in many ways, and like man, He is not happily moved by a desperate attempt at fulfilling the ego-driven self. What I mean is, He’s not moved in a way that would ultimately be for LIFE. For example, He DID respond to the Israelites grumbling for more than bread with enormous amounts of meat…and it caused them to be SICK. And even after God responded, they still had a complaining heart. Furthermore, He DID respond to Moses insecurity by providing Aaron as his mouthpiece, but He was disappointed and frustrated & Moses wasn’t anymore brave.
God is after intimacy. And I believe He does want to respond, but more than respond, I think he wants a “helper” and a partner, in the same way that we as people do. He is after a shared experience of caring the burden, responsibility and heart of the KINGDOM. We see this in many instances in the bible.
For example, God saw that John that Baptist’s parents, Zacharias & Elizabeth were God-fearing people and so he answered their cry and gave them an opportunity for PARTNERSHIP. He rewarded Mary’s God-fearing nature by allowing her bear the savior of the world. He saw the bravery of Shadrach, Mishach and Abednego – their unrelenting commitment to worshiping their God, no matter the consequence and He VOLUNTARILY delivered them. When Peter was in jail for preaching the gospel, the saints prayed and he was delivered. The Jericho walls came down AS the people walked around the wall seven times.
And a current (1950’s) story. When Jim Elliot and his 4 missionary companions were being speared to death by the Auca Indians, God’s angelic presence surrounded them. I kid you not…it was later revealed by the Auca Indians, separately during interviews many years later (after reconciliation and coming to Christ), that while they were being murdered they saw “shiny, white, beings” surrounding the men. They of course did not know what this was…but we know. These were the messengers of God giving witness to their death and ushering them into heaven. Wow and wow!!!
Listen, I’ve tried to control SO much, even in “prayer”. But the older I get, I realize how little I can control apart from how I respond to what is given. God is like this. He has many options and all the power. Still, He has chosen NOT to control everything. He has CHOSEN bear the burden of reality. He has chosen to be long-suffering. He chooses to be so patient. He chooses to run the risk of being REJECTED so that He will have those who will, come in freedom of choice. He chooses to accept only what is VOLUNTARY. At least for now. He will not always be like this, but this is what He has voluntary given himself to. This is what we can voluntarily come to as well.
Prayer is an opportunity to see our circumstances as an opportunity to PARTNER with the character & longing of God – to receive it all as lessons on what God experiences.
While there are things we “need” and we ask God of them, there are greater needs. There is our greatest need of INTIMACY with Him and with others. There is a deeper purpose established in the Garden to be restored – to walk “in nakedness”, so to speak, with God yes, but with each other too.
There ARE needs. But there is also a broken world. There is also our own brokenness. There is also sin. These complicate a lot of it. There are not “easy” answers. Getting our answer may not be what is best. And that is hard. But if we can suspend CONTROL and volunteer our own charity and devotion back, greater understanding increases. And as a Christian, this vision is a call to LIVE in the world with that reality and to love the church and to be loved by God. It is, as John said, to BE THE LIGHT so that the world may see our GOOD DEEDS and PRAISE OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN.
The world does not need a reminder of sin as much as they need to SEE the HOPE of something different. Repentance is as much of turning FROM something as it is TO SOMEONE. Their sin is revealed when they see their own brokenness in LIGHT of what real health and restoration of the soul is. When they see TRUE riches in and among us.
So what is my calling? It is practice the character of God with what I have been given. I have made a lot of mistakes. I bear the weight of some of them now. But in repentance, I get to practice wonderful things such as: patience, long-suffering, hopefulness and empathy with the world.
So we may PRAY for a great many things and this is good. But does not our being cry out for ONENESS, closeness, love, intimacy, purpose and HOPE. God does too. He is after these things. He is after a VOLUNTARY expression of praise. He is after being desired.
This is why he says, “I do not delight in sacrifice. But COMPASSION.” We may be able to OBEY, PRAY, COME TO SERVICE, GIVE and a great many other things. But if our heart is one of SACRIFICE, of feeling like “we have given so much!!” and not COMPASSION or love or devotion or gratefulness, then I feel like God may be broken hearted. I think he will be grieved that he has a person who does not delight in Him after all He has done. And if that persists long enough, it grows into entitlement and anger and bitterness and greed and PHARISEEISM. This end He is VERY mad about because it influences people to stay away from God and to challenge Him. People who adopt that continual lifestyle of “sacrifice” end up HATING the people they are called to love for their sin or religious differences. This is much worse than basic sinning because it positions people to either avoid God altogether or take on a “I-sacrifice-so-much for God” attitude.
God says FEAR him….but he doesn’t say AVOID him. God says to FEAR him, not to SCARE people. He wants respect and closeness and a people who understand HIS BURDEN and HIS PURPOSE. Anything less than this is missing his standard…and likely sin.
I feel the need to emphasize that sin is NOT a monster or something to fear. It is just distance from God. It is again a symptom of a reality within. BUT, it can be fixed with a humble heart! It is not so ugly that we cannot be near it. In fact, we are to be HOPE amongst it. We OWE the world in showing them it is possible. How? By softening our hearts to them who are in need. We need to know that it is not the SIN to fear but the distance from God because that leads to an unfixable end, separation forever. That is the real sadness. When being close to God IS possible, but we make it appear difficult by “putting a load on people that we do not lift a finger to bear.” May we never be like this!
So let us come to God with a humble heart. Let us bear our hearts before Him. Let us remember our OWN sin and the GREATNESS of the forgiveness of God for those who will gladly receive it. This love is inspiring!
Let us then actually COURT our God. To win his heart. To please him. To be as the church is to be, “the girlfriend” to the groom. To prepare ourselves. To be excited to make him GLAD. I feel that then we will have an opportunity to MOVE him to VOLUNTARILY give. Then, instead of some answer or miracle apart from us, it will be an answer to prayer, a miracle through us, in us, and for the WORLD.
Write your thoughts on Prayer. Send them this way ——–> Prayer Thoughts
These two videos have been the stepping stone I needed to begin to understand more what God desires of us. I guarantee you will not regret watching these if you make the time. My biggest take away from all of this is Humility and becoming a zero before God. Below each video I have detailed my personal notes from each one. Feel free to provide feedback and ask questions that you may have here in this post! I am always looking forward to what is to come and for what God has in store for those who submit to Him and choose to seek him fervently.
Jesus Pleased the Father by His Humility
2 Corinthians 5:9-10. Our ambition is to please God: whether at home or absent (On earth & in Heaven). Philippians 2:5-11. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. Jesus was equal to God, but did not regard it as a thing to be grasped. His first step was to become a Zero (Phil 2:6). Your attitude determines whether or not you please God (Phil 2:3). 1 Corinthians 3:6-7. Paul recognizes that he is a zero. Galatians 6. Recognize that you are nothing without Christ. Daniel 4:33-34. King Nebuchadnezzar understood this truth when he was made into a nothing. HUMILITY. HUMILITY. HUMILITY. What it means to be a Christ follower.
Jesus Came to Build Fellowship
1 John 1:2-3. Eternal life manifested with us is to have fellowship with one another. God has given us His Word to give us guidance such as a “manufacturer’s instructions.” 1 John 1:7. Sin hinders fellowship with the father. We must walk in the light (Eph 5). Acts 24:15-16. Strive to have a blameless conscience. Both with God & man. Strive for righteousness. Luke 11:34. Keep your conscience clean as your eyes. One spec of dust will distract you, many specs will eventually make you blind. God divides Christians into two categories: The Humble and The Proud. He Supports the Humble 100% and opposes the Proud 100%. Ephesians 1:18. Let the eyes of your heart be enlightened to know that walking in light is to know God as our Abba, Father. The Devil deceives us of this. 1 Corinthians 12:12. Fellowship with God leads to fellowship with one another. You must live by God’s head (Jesus). He is the Body of the Church. You must be in fellowship with God to understand the value in all others. 1 Corinthians 12:21-24. God gives more honor to the member which lacks. (Poem: There is No Indispensable Man or Woman) 2 Timothy 2:2-3. How to build up: Understand you are indispensable. Be faithful. There is never a church in the New Testament that relies on one man. Jesus is the head, not the shepherds. A plurality of leadership is needed. Titus 1:5. Acts 14:23. Isaiah 11:3. Jesus would not make a judgement on what he hears or sees. He always sought God for direction in all things. Matthew 16:18-23. Philippians 2:2-4. Any voice that leads you to anything else other than death to self is Satan. Make the vertical most important with God over the horizontal which is our experience here on this earth.