Prayer + Connection
I found Christ through prayer twelve years ago. My life was in a tailspin; I would soon be graduating college, and I had not the slightest idea of what I was going to do next. As the oldest child, I was fiercely independent, and I liked control. I liked to plan ahead and know that things happened because of the hard work that I poured into them. In hindsight, it’s laughable to think that I was in control. As I reflect on the last twelve years, I thank God for the night that brought me to my knees. It was an early Spring evening, and I found myself stressed and anxious about the end of my college experience. As things were falling into place, more things were falling out of place. Where would I work? Would I even get a job? What would happen to my friends? What if I fail? What if I can’t do it? The what-if game put me in a full-spin anxiety attack. As tears and sobs ached out from the depth of me, I cried out to God from my knees. I can’t even remember the specifics, but there, in that tiny 10 x 10 room, with the white cinderblock walls, I encountered God for the first time.
Prayer is an encounter. We are called to “…approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time” (Hebrews 4:16). This isn’t a “Bless this food before us…” prayer. It’s not memorizing a series of verses and reciting them before God prayer. This is crying out to God because we have uncontrollable anger towards a friend, spouse, child/children. It’s crying out Abba because we’ve failed someone else, or we’ve lost it all. It’s “Father, I have an addiction, and it’s suffocating me. Help.” It’s “Lord, I can’t wrap my head around what’s happening, show me.” It’s submission in a battle for the bigger war to be won. It’s not “How could You let this happen to ME?” It’s Lord, I don’t understand Your Ways, please show me. Carry me. Help me understand, and if you can’t, God, I still love you.” It’s “I need You. Help.” Prayer is the pulse of our relationship. Are we connecting with God? Are we reaching out in all circumstances because we know inherently that He is a good, good Father, despite whatever battle we are losing or winning? Are we pursuing higher things, or are we dwelling in low and dark places?
Relationship started in Genesis 1:26 when God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” That Our is our Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are made in the likeness of them. They were in relationship together, and we were invited into that. However, that alone does not sustain our relationship. Our relationship needs sustenance in understanding and knowing God. It needs the Word. It needs trust. Our hearts, emotions, and plans will fail us, so we must trust the Truth that we learn from God’s interactions with others in the Bible. These interactions that show us despite how we feel, how we look, or how we act, God’s ways are better than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). We must know Truth to our core and allow the other things their own space, but rely on understanding of God by knowing Him in His Word. Relationship needs praise and worship: Music, thank you, Lord, and Praise God for ______. He desires to nurture us, and who doesn’t like hearing thank you when they give a good gift? And lastly, it needs connection. God doesn’t sleep. He’s available to listen whenever we’re ready to start. Like any relationship, it may feel awkward at first, BUT with consistent pursuit of connection, we will encounter the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. With encounter, the roots of our relationship will gain depth, and we can know that whatever we weather here on Earth, our core will not be shaken.