Clay toddled away from his dad’s reach as he chased the wagging, furry tail of the neighbor’s golden retriever. But Clay’s curiosity dissipated into fright when the friendly dog greeted Clay with affectionate licks. As Clay backed away the dog nuzzled closer to be petted. Clay turned and ran crying to his daddy. He buried his face into his dad’s chest and sobbed as if he was hurt.
Clay knew where to run for comfort. And he simply stayed in his dad’s arms until he was comforted.
Often our prayer time can fall short of delivering the kind of comfort and peace that Clay found in his dad’s arms. Why?
a 9-1-1 Emergency call.
a rote recitation of memorized prayers.
asking God for stuff.
talking to God when you need something.
a monologue. (You do all the talking.)
Casual conversation can be shallow, polite, guarded or strained. But conversations with people that make us feel loved and valued flow from a much deeper place. Those conversations are refreshing and renewing.
David in the Bible modeled that kind of conversations with God.
How do we have the kind of relationship with God that David had?
I want to suggest 2 things:
Get to know God better.
Spend time in God’s presence.
Spend time in God’s Word.
Go beyond feeding your mind with facts, feed your spirit, the real you that lives in your body.
When you read the Scriptures, look past the stories. Look beyond the characters or the plot to see Jesus. What does this story or verse tell you about the character of God?
Trust God’s love. Again and again go back to His love. Go back to the reality that God loved you first.
Learn to linger in His presence.
Receive God’s love.
Let Him love on you.
His love can be felt, not just read about.
It brings soul rest.
It gives life.
This is real love–not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:10 NLT
If prayer is a conversation, then we have to listen to what God has to say. And most of the time listening means we have to get quiet.
I know. Believe me I know, silence can be very uncomfortable. While talking is one of the facet of prayer, silence is another.
Talk to God and just listen. Quiet your spirit with worship. Realize when it comes to prayer, your “Gitter Done” attitude will leave you feeling hollow instead of comforted and loved.
“Worship and prayer, designed to still us before the Lord, are turned into things we do rather than opportunities to “be still and know.” As a result, silence is lost and, by virtue of its absence, becomes foreign. Without that holy stillness, our spiritual life is diminished, for silence has always characterized a truly intimate relationship with the Lord.” Exley, Richard. Pastoral Ministry (Kindle Locations 5744-5757). Global University.
I once pastored a group of children that were hungry, I mean really hungry for God. They loved the Word of God and they loved to worship. Often the children closed the service at the altars worshipping God. I mean really, really worshipping.
At the end of one service I looked around the room and almost every child was on their knees, folded in half with their faces in their lap. They were worshipping. Some were crying. Some were singing. Some were silent. There was a holy hush in the room.
You know, the kind of presence of God that makes you want to stay there forever.
The kind of presence that makes you feel loved, and peaceful, and happy, and hopeful all at the same time.
It was the kind of presence of God that drained the room of fear and torment and filled the atmosphere with love so real it was almost tangible.
The children lingered in the quietness, because like Clay, they found their loved place- God’s Presence!
As I thought about how quiet the room was I asked God, “Father, this is so different from the culture of this church. Why is there such a holy quietness in this room?
Father whispered, “These children are bombarded with noise. I’m giving them peace.”
And God wants to do that for you.
He wants to give you peace.
But you can miss it!
You can love God…with all your heart…and miss His peace…His strength…His joy.
But you don’t have to miss it!
I have to join those children in telling you that some of my most precious times of worship were too powerful for words.
Let me clarify.
A moment of silence will not take you to that place of intimacy with God. But going deeper, lingering in worship will.
Deep worship doesn’t always need words.
“Silence is the language of intimacy. Through silence, the heart speaks to God and God speaks to the heart . In silence, God teaches us the deep mysteries of the Spirit, the things that can never be communicated with mere words.” (Exley, Richard. Pastoral Ministry (Kindle Locations 5761-5762). Global University.)
Did you see that?
Silence is the language of intimacy. Tweet this!
Wow! I’m convinced that silence is another facet of prayer.
I understand that rushing into prayer, telling God what we need and running out ASAP fits our busy life styles, but it doesn’t refresh our spirits.
While I have lots of those quick conversations on a daily basis, I’ve also learned to protect my time with God. I’ve got to have that time.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh nailed it when she said,
“Once it is done, I find there is a quality to being alone [with God] that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before” (1981, 79). Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. 1981. “Praise Ye the Lord!” In Dawnings: Finding God’s Light in the Darkness, ed. Phyllis Hobe. Waco, TX: Word Books Publisher. Quoted from Pastoral Ministry, Global University.)
…In quietness and confidence is your strength…. Isaiah 30:15b NLT
Oh Father, help us not to miss the love that you want to lavish us with. In all our struggle to be more and do more, help us not to miss that love place that you call us to experience. That place where our soul is at rest. That place where we experience your love and reflect it back to you. That place that enables us to live out love in our everyday lives. That place that fills us with all the good thing that you want us to pour out into the lives of others. Help us to learn the power of enjoying your presence in a way like never before. Help us to really know you and your love so that we can be conduits for that love to flow through. Amen.