There is another principle to prayer that we often overlook.
God initiates prayer. Not us. He speaks to get the exchange going.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
Every time the words “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” occur in the New Testament, Jesus is the one who is speaking. This is no casual expression. It is the divine Son of God saying, “Don’t ever close your ears or your heart to your need to be taught.
How we listen will determine our prayer life.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
Let us start at the beginning.
The story of the Garden in the Book of Genesis is all about words. It is recorded in words and it tells about words. The first words ever created – big time – bigger than ever or anything we might know.
Words brought the world into existence, words flung the stars into space; words spoke the light into being and set the oceans their boundaries. Then God formed man from the dust, the woman from the man and spoke a blessing over them to give them authority over all things.
The ancient Hebrews believed words are a unit a unit of energy that goes out and accomplish something. Therefore the blessing spoken could not be retracted. Once Isaac spoke the blessing of the firstborn over Jacob, it could not be undone and Esau had to accept a lesser blessing.
God’s first words to man was spoken in His Presence in that beautiful perfect garden.
PRINCIPLE for a life of excellence: God speaks. If He asks us to pray without ceasing, He will talk to us without ceasing!
Therefore My people shall know My name;
Therefore they shall know in that day
That I am He who speaks:
‘Behold, it is I.’” (Isaiah 52:6)
You cannot live on rumors of God – hearsay. Like Job (42:5) we declare: (The Message)
I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!
There in the Garden He sets the scene for constant communication. He never ceased to speak. Not even sin could thwart the voice of God.
I am not sure what you think of prayer. Just the word might bring bad associations – forced prayer, awkward moments, heartless prayers, judgmental prayers, long windedness, religious rituals and so forth. Just think for a moment what is your intellectual and emotional response to the mentioning of prayer. Are you excited by the thought, or do you feel guilty? Are you hesitant or expectant? Do you feel indifferent; having decided long ago it doesn’t work or can you testify enthusiastically about recent answer to prayer?
MOMENT OF PRAYER: Express the desire to hear God’s voice.
Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden as royalty to reign over the magnificence of creation. They dwelt in perfect communication and entered into the rest God planned for them. Remember, their first day on earth was the Sabbath. One can never reign effectively and victoriously without entering into the rest of the Sabbath with God, relaxing and finding fellowship with Him.
That was the first, fabulous consequence of communication – rest and peace. Adam was a scientist. He worked every day and met God in the stillness of the evening. He named creation. It is science. Talk to anyone in the natural sciences and they will tell you they are still naming creation.
Then in the darkness that followed the decision to listen to that challenging half-truth of satan, came the distancing of shame and failure, fleeing from the Presence and conversation.
Satan questioned God’s words, and Eve added some of her own understanding when she said: we are not to eat or touch the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. God never said not to touch, only not to eat. Sin comes to us in various ways, but it is the participation and immersion in it, that corrupts and destroys. It exposes our nakedness without the covering of God’s Presence.
PRINCIPLE for a life of excellence: Prayer is a conversation – initiated by God.
And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:39,41,42)
Pray with me:
Lord, open my ears to hear what the Spirit says to he church, so that may I know Your plans and purposes on this earth.
Pray without ceasing.