In the Bible the idea of “walking” with someone has the meaning of friendship because you talk as you walk. Genesis 3:8 tells us that God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and by extension we can say God had a friendship with the first parents. Sin broke that relationship because Adam and Eve ran away from God and separated themselves from Him.
The entire Bible is simply about God searching for us and inviting us to return to the Garden. There is a great gulf, however, between us and God and we can’t cross it on our own in order to be in harmony with God once again, so God comes to us.
God had told Adam and Eve that they could have anything they wanted with the exception of eating from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If they ate from that tree they would be going against God’s love for them and they would experience sin.
The problem with sin is that it is rebellion against God and always leads to separation from Him and when that happens we die. The Bible says the wages of sin is death, but it isn’t God who causes our death but our sins that keep us in rebellion against the source of our life, Jesus.
In order to mend this separation that sin brought into our lives Jesus has to first get our attention and explain the seriousness of our sins. He does this through a wonderful avenue called prayer.
Prayer isn’t some magical intuition where we sit around waiting for God to pop gems of wisdom into our heads. Prayer always begins with God talking to us. He does that through our reading and studying the Bible. As we study, the Holy Spirit convicts us of truth and implants the gospel into our minds where we meditate and contemplate upon it.
Most of you understand what I am saying because you have read something in the Bible and can’t stop thinking about it and mulling it over in your head. That is the work of the Holy Spirit convicting you regarding the truth of what you read.
This is the jump off spot for prayer. If we take the Scripture that God has illuminated in our thoughts and begin our prayer around the text of Scripture, we find that we are responding to the truth that the Holy Spirit has put in our heart when we read the Bible. We are in dialogue with God at this point and our prayers become real. As we pray we will receive more and more illumination for our life as God unfolds further truths to us.
I know what I have just written about prayer is a bit different from our general approach of kneeling down and rattling off a series of requests and petitions. However, if we meditate upon the text of Scripture and allow God to speak to us through the Spirit, we have listened to God speaking to us as a friend. We then begin our part in the discussion, by asking God for more understanding, praising Him for the valuable truths the Holy Spirit gave you, and by confessing our sins in repentance.
Let me illustrate what I am saying in this post. Last night in our Bible study we were talking about the Crucifixion and as we talked it became very clear to us that we could see ourselves in the crowd that called for Jesus death and we could see ourselves in the Roman soldiers who mocked and beat Jesus. As that truth sank into our hearts we couldn’t help but understand the almost unspeakable wonder of Jesus sacrifice that redeemed us, the very people whose sins took Him to the cross.
As we discussed and meditated upon the truth of what Jesus did for us at Calvary a person could not help but want to praise God for such a wonderful gift. Also in light of the Cross our sins become all too plain and confession and repentance become central to our prayers. Our petitions take on a different flair as well. We find ourselves praying for a closer walk with God, with greater urgency for friends and family, and a desire to be more in tune with God’s will.
Our prayers include worship, praise, confession, repentance and petition. When we allow the Bible to open the discussion we find we have so much more to say to God than we ever thought. This is the power of prayer.
Reading the Bible and allowing the time to meditate upon the text under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is key to a powerful and successful prayer life. When you close the Bible and begin to pray your mind will be full of questions and insights that you will want to talk to God about. Your heart will be filled with praise for revealing truth to you and every fiber of your being will call out to God in love and worship.
Here is a challenge. Sit down with John 19 and read the story of the crucifixion. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you concerning some aspect of the reading and let it percolate in your mind for a few minutes then talk to God about it. This will not be your typical two-minute, “do this for me” prayer, but a beautiful talk with your friend Jesus.
* The persecution of Christians has not stopped. If anything it’s increased. The main stream media doesn’t talk about it much anymore but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Pray and stay informed and inform others. Please take the time to read some of their stories at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…