What a friend we have in Jesus – goes the hymn. Early this summer I had the opportunity to worship with the body of Christ, and there the pastor shared a message about how it would do us good to see the Father as our friend. The word was given to remind those who were listening that God can be trusted with our prayers, hopes, and dreams. God does not give the way the world gives. So, pray to this friend boldly.
This post is about how after weeks of praying boldly, I reached a new to me understanding of meeting with and praying to this ‘friend’. It is also to describe the way it profoundly changed my place at the table.
Yes, I wrote ‘table’.
But I was not sitting at an actual table. I was in the garage – prostrate, face to the ground on the concrete floor. In that place during the early morning hours before the sunrise – I could raise my voice and cry out to God anything and everything. To be sure, there was no tablecloth, only a shop towel on the floor acting as my semi-bonafide ‘prayer mat’.
- Praising God for everything. He is my sustainer, my deliverer, my salvation, my sanctuary, my Father, my LORD and the One who owns my heart. Glory in the highest to You God.
- Thankfulness begins to pour forth. Thanking God for providing everything I need, when I need it, before I even know. Thank You God for this breath, this heartbeat, these talents, my creativity, shelter, everything.
- Petition for others, for their trials, the challenges they face, their prayer requests. For an end to war. For healing, as so many are dealing with health issues. Praying on behalf of those in the Body of Christ, to be lifted and given prophecy. For this same Body to be convicted, to seek You with all their heart, and not to be distracted by the spiritual distortions of the world.
- Then a request that my spirit be purified by Christ – and in Christ, to be transparent.
Right in the middle of this prayer, while still on the floor in the garage, I came to visualize a ‘menu’ for prayer. Like a table of contents or some cleverly arranged bookmarks on ‘how to pray properly’.
It not only caught my attention, but made me feel suspect for even dwelling on it, and I asked God “why?“.
Just like an instant replay, it was revealed to my spirit that this principle was taught me by multiple pastors, each of whom had a concept of meeting God ‘properly’. The holy spirit then offered a ‘correction’ to my prayer education.
That this menu for prayer is man’s way.
Prayer is not a linear menu for bringing our petitions, asking for forgiveness, requesting our needs, offering praise and thanks, then saying “amen”.
To be in prayer is sacred and holy.
There is no ‘menu’, no protocol, and no set of rules to adhere to. Prayer doesn’t require me to speak either.
Sometimes, just listen. Be quiet and wait for Word to come.
I seldom race through prayer because it’s intimate.
And I do something no one ever taught me to do…I ask the Holy Spirit to lead me in prayer, which oftentimes brings intensity that I am unprepared for.
And then it hits my human understanding that GOD is right HERE.
I paused to catch my breath with the realization that I’ve never thought to inquire how You feel, LORD and creator of all.
A new and living ‘menu’ was given at this moment. I thought of the very closeness as if I were with You at an outdoor bistro table… friends…
“How are you?” I ask the LORD
To explain the response is difficult due to how INTENSE it felt, but it began with an outpouring of weeping which became uncontrollable sobbing.
A broken church that is judgmental, divisive, and arrogant.
Broken humanity. Murder, slander, deceit, seeking everything but God, no true love.
Broken creation. Done solely by mankind.
I wept until exhausted.
Was given John 8:42 when done with prayer.
Then I got up from the floor.
Yeshua said to them, “If God were your Father [but He is not], you would love and recognize Me, for I came from God [out of His very presence] and have arrived here. For I have not even come on My own initiative [as self-appointed], but He [is the One who] sent Me”.John 8:42
I have blessed the Name of the LORD before in prayer, but I have never once asked God “How are You?” Until today.
It sat me down, reminding me of my place, and that He allows me to come to the table because I am His. To hear and feel the heart of God is to be humbled in a way I cannot humanly express.
The message the pastor gave in telling the congregation to “go to their Father who is in heaven and to pray boldly” is true but leaves out one thing.
It’s a TWO-WAY conversation.
To pray, to be in discourse with God through the Holy Spirit – is to make a piercing connection that goes right through the cerebral cortex, the bone and marrow, and all that we are, into our very spirit. Nothing can be hidden as we pray with our Creator God, Our Father, Our Savior, and Redeemer. The unhindered Truth, light of conviction, hand of correction, and unlimited enlightenment are combined in this holy supplication, and MUST be considered before going there. Why?
God as ‘friend’ cannot be taken lightly. He is not a basketball coach, not the woman down the street who bakes cookies, nor a blundering old man who is easily coerced.
God is sovereign, YHWH, the I AM.
To go into prayer BOLDLY is to remove your skin and lay everything bare before the throne of the One who is all power, majesty, intelligence, and the will to bring anything and all things into existence. The same One who can erase it all just as easily. Remember that.