Is it easier for you to talk to people than it is for you to talk to God? I am not speaking about your prayer life, not at this moment at least, but just your day to day conversations that you have with the Lord, assuming of course that you do this. I am going to surmise that the context of the conversation would be relative, the closeness that you might have with the individual, and of course the emotional state that you are in at that moment.
The daily idle dialogue is probably what comes to mind first, those individuals that you meet on a fairly regular basis, say at your place of employment, the corner market, perhaps where you may have lunch occasionally. The normal greetings, the how are you doing comments are usually how these begin, the weather nearly always seems to play a part along with weekend plans or basic questions about the health and welfare of your immediate family. These are of course almost always based on familiarity and on how much we want others to know about us and our own desires to familiarize ourselves to others. An outward circle working inward of personal, intimate knowledge, and the further we move towards the center of the circle, the more intimate the conversations become.
Trust is the key factor here, the more of ourselves we inform someone about ourselves, the more we trust them, and since we are all separate, individualized beings, that trust must be earned by those that we associate with, the deeper we move into the circle, the more the trust. When two people meet and they discover through a conversation that the are both Christians, it does not automatically assume that we will begin to open up to them in every area of our lives. The term “Christian” has many various meanings today, not all who profess Christ are followers of “the Way” as it was called in the first century church. Trust between true followers of Christ though should never be an item of concealed interest, if we are not open and trustworthy with our brothers and sisters in Christ, how are we to bear the burdens of each other and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal. 6:2)
If you are part of a fellowship of believers that are open honest and trustworthy with each other in every area of your lives, feel blessed, this is a rare thing indeed. To be not only able to speak your mind openly, to express truth to those that need to hear it and to be held accountable by those who love you in Christ is not the norm of the church today, nor do I suppose that it really ever has been for many centuries. My beautiful wife has earned the right to ask of or for anything from me or about me, I trust her implicitly, I am never intimidated or in fear of her, we are becoming one, and the Scriptures are quite clear, we are all in Christ.
So, back to the ‘at the moment’ statement that I mentioned at the beginning of this letter to you, what about your prayer life, how are you doing there? Is it something that you rarely remember to do, is there a well-worn spot somewhere in your house from regularly being on your knees, or is it hit and miss, completely dependent on the current circumstances in your life at the moment. How do your prayers start, with praise and abject humbleness, or with the burdens of your own life, are you seeking Him in these moments for Him alone, or for what He can give you, or perhaps what you hope to get from Him. Are you accepting of His will, or trying to get Him to change His mind, thinking that if you just keep repeating the same prayer over and over that He will give in and then you will be happy again, at least until the next time.
I have always enjoyed the beginning of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Period, stop right there. Stop wanting for selfish reasons and you shall not want ever again, pretty simple, huh? There are many who incorrectly call this the Lord’s prayer, it is, in reality our Lord’s response to the disciples request on how they should pray. Our Lords prayer is in the Book of John, Chapter 17, and if you will look at it closely you will see that almost the entire prayer is for us. So then, what should our prayer life revolve around, us? Of course not. others? Somewhat, of course. Christ, that is what your prayer life should be centered on, Christ Jesus the Lord. You would be amazed at how not only your prayer life but your walk with the Lord will change if you will just learn how to praise Him.
It is astonishing thing, but when we come to Him in prayer and not only begin with praise but continue in the praising of His name in every possible way imaginable, we tend to forget what we came in prayer to Him for in the first place. Whatever problems we thought we had, whatever request that we were going to make to Him or burdens we were going to ask Him to remove, just seem to disappear from our minds. When that wonderful day comes and I get to look into His face for the first time, I will think to myself, why was I ever worried, concerned or fearful, there was never any cause to be so. Why not start that now, why wait until that moment, why not trust Him completely right now.
There isn’t anything that our Lord does not know about you, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Heb. 4:13) how foolish it is to try to hide anything from Him, do you honestly believe that you can embarrass Him with anything that you have done or said? We are to pray without ceasing, (1st Thess. 5:17) that means from the moment that you wake up until the time that you fall back asleep, all the time, do not stop. The longer that you talk to the Lord, the easier it becomes to talk to Him, and that is how trust begins.
From the checkout woman at the grocery store, to your co-workers, to you family, to your spouse, to yourself, to God. See how that works, at the center of the circle is Christ. There is a close, personal intimate relationship with the Creator Himself just waiting for you, and it is based in love and trust. We must always remember though that He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, do not take this relationship with Him to an informal level, He is not your buddy or your pal, He is the eternal God, He is my Lord and all that I am is His, but I will not call Him my friend until He tells me that I can, that is not my place.
Jesus loves me, He has given me a copy of His Word, and I cherish it, He has saved me by His grace, and praise is the best gift that I can give him that is why it is called the sacrifice of praise. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Heb. 13:15) We have to give something up in order to give that praise to Him, that is the nature of a sacrifice. We learn of this sacrifice by giving Him all that we own in this world, for was it not He that gave them to us in the first place, then next those that we love the most, we remove all doubt and care, all concern for them and place them in His loving and capable hands, and lastly ourselves. Who can take better care of me than the Lord, I surely haven’t done a very good job of it.
Trust is the mot difficult thing that we can give of ourselves to another, trust is the action of love. Let me repeat that, trust is the action of love, I love you, so I trust you, I trust you, so I love you, they are inseparable. Almost no one accepts Christ as Lord and immediately trusts Him in every aspect of their lives, look how long it was before Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. (Gen. 15:6) Trust is earned, it says that I love you this much to give you this much of myself. So, how much have you given to Him, how much do you really trust Him? He doesn’t mind being put to the test, look at Malachi 3:10 for just one example, the thing is, just how often do you need to keep asking Him to prove Himself to you? Dos every single trial and trouble that He allows to come into your life require Him to prove Himself again, over and over?
What Christ did on the cross says to us “I love you,” just read John 3:16 and you will see this truth, but that action also said that you can trust me, implicitly and with everything. If you have a dire need, if your heart is breaking, go to Him, beg for His mercy and grace, ask of Him all that you need to ask, He is sufficient for all of our needs, and He loves us deeply, but please do not forget to fill your prayers with praise. You will see those wants and needs disappear in the light of His glorious presence, and you will begin to understand that in the praising of Him just because He is, that He is all you need.