Monday, February 11, 2008

The Secrecy of Prayer

Keys to Effective Prayer
Alice Smith

Some Christians seem to experience a much closer intimacy with God than others. Some appear to enjoy a reverent familiarity with the Lord that is foreign to others. Is it a matter of favoritism on God's part? No. The Lord doesn't have favorites, but he does have intimates. And Jesus invites you to be one of them. What are the benefits of this close fellowship with Jesus Christ?

My intimate experiences with the Lord have grown and changed through the years. So will yours. Jesus can't reveal everything to us at once; we grow closer to him over time. One of the joys of knowing Christ is the depth of communion we can experience. To be invited to constantly commune with Christ is such a privilege.

Communion reminds us of the Lord's Supper. It sounds rather formal and somber. Of course you can, as some do, experience a personal "Lord’s Supper." But I'm referring not to the ordinance, per se. There is so much more beyond that. I'm referring to the intimate fellowship we can have with Christ. Let me share with you, from my heart, several insights I have gleaned.
1. Relax in prayer. Don't struggle to perform. Relax and be yourself. Laugh, celebrate, praise and enjoy this marvelous, yet mysterious covenant relationship you have with Jesus.

2. Don't feel worthy? Don't take yourself so seriously. We all "blow it" at times. Loosen up.

3. Don't limit your communion relationship to prayer. Include devotional reading, Bible reading, praise and worship in your prayer times. Sing to him, brag on him; enjoy him.

4. You can't lead another to a level deeper of intimacy that you've not experienced. Develop your intimate relationship with Christ first before trying to lead others.

5. Do as I do, involve the Lord in your every day conversation. Assume his constant presence with you. Ask him to minister to people around you. Tell the Lord how much you appreciate revelation and counsel regarding the day to day situations in which you find yourself. Hey, you can ask Jesus to help you find a parking spot too!

My friend, pastor and author, Dutch Sheets explains communion this way. "Second Corinthians 13:14 says, 'The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship a/the Holy Spirit, be with you all.' The word fellowship here is koinonia and is rich with meaning, as can be seen in the following definitions: The word koinonia implies that the Holy Spirit wants intimacy with us. This very word is used in 1 Corinthians 10: 16 to describe the Lord's Table, the bread and the wine. This is appropriate since it is the Lord's shed blood and broken body that brings us into covenantal, intimate communion with Him."

"The Holy Spirit wants to commune with us. He has much to say if we learn to listen. He is the means to all revelation from God. He is the Teacher. He is a part of the Godhead we're to be in relationship with. Let him fellowship and commune with you. At times his fellowship with you requires no speaking. Some communion is heart to heart. At times I crawl up to God for a look. Just knowing he is looking back is enough. At other times he shares his heart while I'm gazing.

"There is an amazing picture of this sort of intimacy reflected in the following scriptures: The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant (Ps. 25:14, italics mine)."

"The words "secret" and "intimacy" are translated from the same root Hebrew word cowd, which means "couch, cushion, or pillow." Dutch Sheets, Watchman Prayer."
(Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2000), p. 153-154.
The picture is one of two intimate friends laughing and talking at lunch in a crowded restaurant, oblivious to their surroundings, lost in their conversation. Or it reminds me of my teen slumber parties. Late at night, we girls would put on our PJ’s, grab our pillows, and sit in a circle to talk, laugh, and tell stories. The Lord longs for this same kind of "snuggle-close" friendship.
Please help us during this Sabbath rest for Eddie.

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