Throughout the day, my husband and I text each other. Some texts consist of requests for information or reminders of a to-do list. Oftentimes, though, a brief message conveying our love does wonders to boost our sense of closeness in an otherwise busy day. A quick text, however, can only accentuate what has already been formed in the larger context of the time and energy invested in our relationship. To expect our marriage to live on texts alone would not only be foolish, but would also speak volumes about the value we place on intimacy.
Prayer is our means of communication with Jesus— the One who loved us enough to selflessly bear our punishment on the cross. If perceived as a requirement, something outside the context of love, prayer can easily become a series of words rooted in works. Just as a marriage will falter when communication becomes obligatory, so too our relationship with Jesus can become awkward and stilted if we don’t understand the true heart of prayer.
More consistent than any human could ever be Psalm 27:10), God is our true refuge (Psalm 27:1-3). Prayer, however, is much bigger than our telling God what we want. When we expect Him to answer our cries for help and then respond with a “text” message to His work, our concept of prayer becomes small and self-serving. Quick prayers have their place, but only when the foundation of invested time and intimacy has been laid. Prayer is a discipline—a skill we grow in over a period of time. Even the disciples—after seeing Jesus preach to the multitudes, heal the sick, and leave the Pharisees speechless—saw prayer as an area in which they needed to grow in understanding (Luke 11:1). Do we see prayer in the same way?
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Genesis 4:1-16
Read Psalm 27:4, Isaiah 56:7, Matthew 21:13, and 1 Corinthians 6:19 to see how our concept of prayer agrees with our lives being the place where God’s Spirit dwells.
What happens to our natural relationships if our communication never goes any deeper than surface-level responses? What does it mean to be face-to-face with God?