In my last entry, we looked at the extremely important realization that God, Our King, is interested not only in our spiritual well-being, but also our total well-being. He is seeking to bring His wholeness to the whole person. Christians can so often struggle with making God only a “religious” God (someone whom we recognize in our times of expressing our religious values and/or worship). But true Christianity is centered in the life-changing notion that God is interested in being our God in our everyday lives. He is intent on being with us even in all the, seemingly, insignificant “non-religious” issues and details of our lives. His love for us goes that deep.
Scripture is clear… God never leaves us, nor forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20). Part of what this means is that there is never a moment when God is not with us. In our “spiritual” moments” and our “non-spiritual” moments, God is there – God is ever-present (whether we recognize His Presence or not!). One of the real challenges for every believer is to realize that God is with us, in every moment, in every day – and He desires to play an active role in how we go about living our daily lives.
What is more, God desires to work through us to reach out and divinely touch the world we live in. He wants to bring the grace of Heaven to earth. He wants to bring His will to bear upon the madness and chaos we witness all around us. He wants to do this every day, and in the everyday things that make up our daily lives.
Our part is two-fold: 1) Realize that God is with us; and 2) Intentionally connect with His intentions. This intentional connection has a simpler term – we call it “prayer.” Now, prayer is “woven into the fabric” of every religion, but there is something that makes prayer especially important within the Christian experience. In every religion, people talk to their deity, make requests of their god, express their wants, needs and concerns – or just faithfully recite some pre-formed prayer. The one thing we notice is that all this praying is decidedly one way. It is human beings speaking to a deity – as part of an expression of devotion to their god.
But here is where true Christianity is different. In the Christian “prayer connection” we not only speak with God, but He “speaks” with us. Sometimes we tend to forget that God actually lives within us! We cannot be truly Christian without the Presence of the Living God, through the Person of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 8:9). The Spirit’s task is to reveal God’s will, and God’s truth, to our hearts, from within us. Every true Christian has insight into the purposes and plans of the Great King – through the inside information provided by revelation through the Holy Spirit. IF we will listen. IF we will give heed.
This is the special challenge, and privilege, in being a child of the King. He wants to share His plans and His will with us. Then He wants us to set those plans, and that will, in motion through us – through our participation with Him, in prayer. Our very first focus is not our needs, or wants, or answers to our questions, or divine intervention into our problems, but our first focus is seeing that the will of the King is done, and His Kingdom advanced upon this earth. This is exactly how Jesus taught us to pray… “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9-10) The model for prayer is not what we want, but what God wants. The pattern is not to seek resolve to our own issues and concerns, but to address the King’s issues and concerns. And in our praying, to become an active participant in bringing the King’s will to this earth through our prayers. (Of particular note… In the “Lord’s prayer” [our model for true prayer] there is not one mention of the word “I” or “me.”)
So we see that prayer is a conversation between two persons. We seek to speak with God, and He seeks to speak with us. But true prayer occurs when we center our words on seeking and determining the King’s will (based upon His heavenly rule). Then, once we know His will, we become active participants in seeing that His will is done on this earth just as it is always done in heaven. This is Jesus’ focus when He is teaching us how to pray!
Sadly, most Christians’ prayers are often off-center. Our prayers tend to be full of our wants and struggles, with very little thought as to what it is that the King might want in our situations. Our prayers, when it gets right down to it, are often self-serving and self-absorbed. Once again, our thinking must change. True Christianity is always centered in the will of the King, Whom we love and serve. True Christians are concerned about the Kingdom first, then we have the proper perspective to pray for our own needs (and God DOES want to be the Source of the supply to meet our needs!)
God is in the everyday things of this life. He is ever with us, to love us and to use us, to touch the world we each encounter in our everyday lives. Prayer is our vital connection with the King – and His vital connection to us. May our hearts draw near to His waiting Heart.