I won’t pretend like prayer solves all of our issues, or makes for smooth sailing. That would be a lie; one my own life story can’t support.
I also won’t pretend like I haven’t had moments where I was mentally shouting out toward heaven, or crying my eyes out, feeling directionless or lonely. And while prayer doesn’t guarantee healing, material blessings, or affirmative answers, it does do something: it acknowledges and fosters a friendship with a faithful and invincible God.
I think we take this opportunity for granted.
We often use prayer erroneously.
We ask for guarantees that can’t exist in a world full of free will and freedoms true and perfect love must provide.
We want prayer to be a tool that helps us avoid uncertainty, or discomfort, yet God has not promised us certainty or cryptic messages that will bail us out of heavy storms.
What He has promised us is His presence.
I find that the boldest people in scripture weren’t the ones seeking certainty, but the ones who took some crazy risks.
Not because they had completely lost it, but because they intimately knew the God they served.
Seek Him And Find Him
I believe our prayer life significantly changes when we stop asking for things and/or even when we stop asking for God to show up.
Don’t get me wrong, if you feel God is not near He will reveal Himself to you. After all, He has promised in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
However, I believe the true power of prayer lies in the dialogue (not monologue) and unfolding of a relationship with Him.
It’s not so much the prayer asking Him to show up, but the prayer that acknowledges that God is already beside you.
Look at Abraham and Moses, both whom entered into negotiations with God and changed His hand and action through intercession, and both left to an unknown place that was promised.
Look at people like Jacob and Job, who fought with God in their hurt and brokenness.
Look at those like Jonathan, Jeremiah, Esther, and Daniel, who risked it all; knowing they weren’t guaranteed a happy ending but that they were guaranteed a companion for the wild ride.
Raw Isn’t Always Pretty
Departing into the unknown, fighting, risking, all require raw intimacy.
Raw isn’t always pretty for us, because it can mean gathering shards of ourselves and carrying them over to a God who we may have mis-characterised in our minds, in the past.
These kinds of prayers can shatter all we know to be true, but it can lead us into places we never thought were possible.
It is these raw kinds of prayers that allow us to let go of people’s perceptions of us, or the limitations that they placed on us.
It is these prayers that help us know that our resources are unlimited, and that we are not bound by the past.
It is these kinds of prayers that push us to do anything God directs us to; things we could never do, without Him.
It is these kinds of prayers that allow us to overcome, and heal.
It is these kinds of prayers that allow us to stand tall, because we know that whoever hires us, whoever engages with us, whoever messes with us, also hires, engages, and messes, with the Father beside us.
It is then that we understand God’s promise to bless those who bless us, and to curse those who curse us.
It is when we intimately know our Father, that we are settled in our true identity as His children.
This knowledge is the beginning to unlocking the supernatural life He has waiting, for each one of us.
I am always touched by the story of King David.
Even when he was running for his life due to consequences he brought upon himself, through his own mistakes, he knew God was with him.
Sure, he was a king, he was the anointed one. But, more than that, he was God’s friend.
David had an assurance based on the knowledge and relationship he had cultivated.
Let’s pray like David did.
May we know that He is our Father, He is our Creator, He is our Redeemer.
He is our Friend.