An Invitation To Intimacy
“My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” – Psalm 27:8 (NLT)
Prayer. It is probably one of the most universal – and least understood – actions in which human beings engage. Even self-proclaimed atheists may find themselves uttering a prayer in times of desperation. Regardless of one’s religion, prayer is usually regarded as an important spiritual practice, something that is often highly ritualized. Prayer can be defined, in simple terms, as a conversation with God. Sadly, so many people, including Christians, find themselves entering into prayer only out of obligation or habit. These sorts of prayers often lack depth and sincerity, and fail to connect the heart of human beings to the heart of God.
Scripture portrays prayer as a practice that cultivates intimacy with God, a concept that is not well-understood in American Christianity. Prayer is not something to be done only in times of trouble; it is designed to become, for Christians, an activity as natural and necessary as breathing. It is to be regarded as a privilege, not merely an obligation. Failure to recognize the potency of prayer and the importance of regular, frequent communication with the God of the universe results in a frenzied, fearful existence.
Deep, thoughtful, effective prayers emerge out of hearts that recognize the immensity of God’s love and the desire God possesses for intimacy with human beings. In a world where even those closest to us sometimes lose interest in what we have to say, it is incomprehensible that the One who placed the stars in the sky is willing to listen to our comparably miniscule worries and concerns. And yet…He does. More than that, He deeply desires a close relationship with each individual. To that end, He doesn’t merely instruct us to pray; instead, He invites us to speak with Him. Imagine that. The same God who raised Jesus from the grave, the same God who formed the ocean depths and crafted the mountain peaks…that God longs to converse with us. God offers each one of us a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a comforting embrace. No worry, no concern, no praise, no joyful shout…nothing we might desire to share with God is too minor for Him to attend to.
When we begin to think of prayer as an awesome opportunity to connect on a deeper level with God rather than an item to check off our to-do list, our relationship with Him will be completely transformed. If we approach prayer with an expectant heart, if we sincerely pour out our hearts to Him and quietly listen for the whisper of His voice, if we are patient and persistent, we will discover the unmatched satisfaction and indescribable peace found only in a relationship with Him.