Why deprive the Lord Jesus of the very thing He died to get, which is an intimate, on-going relationship with us?
2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding [what the Lord wants] but delight in airing their own opinions.
Listening can be a pretty difficult discipline. I am all the time getting myself in trouble because I listen to the first part of instructions and then miss the second part. If there is more than one step to a process, I will probably miss the other steps entirely. I’m working on it…
Listening is part of prayer. The first part is talking, but as a wise person once said, “God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we would listen twice as much as we talk.” Many times, we see Jesus as our Lord, but we overlook the fact that He is our Teacher. In fact, one of the terms we can use for the Holy Spirit is Guide.
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. John 16:13
When we take a tour somewhere, say, the Alabaster Caverns that are south of Freedom, Oklahoma, we have a tour guide who stays with us the entire trip through the cave. In fact, we are warned to STAY WITH the tour guide for our own safety. We are taking a tour through this life and we have a Guide, the Holy Spirit, who is Jesus. He warns us to stay with Him for our own safety. How do we do that?
What people seem to miss is that our salvation puts us in a right relationship with the Father so that He can have constant fellowship with us. Jesus comes to live in us through the Holy Spirit, and we have access to the Father all the time. We are always in His throne room, so to speak. To talk to Him, all we have to do is face Him. He’s right there! Here are some ways to make our conversation with Him more concrete:
- Set aside a certain amount of time to spend with just Him everyday. Early morning is preferable because it sets the tone for the entire day.
- Get some note cards (or start a file on your phone/laptop) and write down your intentions.
- The first card lists your intentions for your prayer time. It may include a life verse or pertinent verse.
- The next cards are Scripture cards that remind you of your task, your position in Christ, and promises upon which you come while reading His Word.
- The next cards you make (one or some for every day) include people for whom you feel led to pray. For instance, you may have a card for family, one for close friends, one for your small group at church, possibly your church leaders, civil leaders, and one for persecuted Christians and potential Christians.
- Start slow. Just a couple of cards today, one tomorrow, and then build up.
The idea is to create physical, hands-on helps that assist us in praying. Like I said, we are to listen twice as much as we pray, so read your Bible (particularly Proverbs) to hear what the Spirit is saying to His church. Also, as you pray, ask the Lord how to pray for each person on your card today (it changes sometimes!). This interaction will, indeed, set the tone for your entire day and make it one of great fellowship with the Father.
Does it sound like too much work? Consider these verses from today’s Proverbs:
9 One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.
12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.
15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.
Rather than feel unworthy to come to Him, be encouraged that He will call to your attention any unconfessed sin that breaks fellowship with Him. Consider this perspective: When we don’t pray, we deprive the Lord Jesus of the very thing for which He died, which is a personal, on-going relationship with His brothers and sisters.
Abba, I pray for my readers that they will be encouraged and will take the time and effort to organize their prayer time with You. Thank You for a godly wife who taught me to make cards! Our respective times with You have grown through the years and I attribute much of it to the discipline of prayer. Call my readers into a close relationship with You, Lord Jesus. May the sense Your presence and participation in their lives today. Amen.