Prayer and Intimacy with God
For many, prayer is simply asking God to do something for us or to give us something. But actually, prayer is meant to be an intimate communication between us and God, just like we might see with a young couple in love… who always want to be together. Truly, this is God’s desire for us and why He created us… to share Himself with us. However, prayer is also a means for us to ask for provision. God wants us to ask, but not at the expense of our relationship with Him. As a good Father, He wants more than anything to bless us, and grant us our desires. Here you will learn how to recognize God’s voice, pray the kind of prayers that get answered and build an intimate relationship with Him.
Prayer is a Two-way Street
In any healthy relationship, good communication is vital and is often the best sign of true intimacy between the parties. When two people are like-minded, there tends to be a bond between them and an ease of expressing their thoughts and feelings. Trust is a given. It is no different in our relationship with our Father in Heaven. God loves it when His children want to talk with Him and spend time with Him.
For many, prayer is just a person “telling God what they want or need”… which is perfectly fine at times… but this does not define prayer at all, and if anything is the shallower portion. It is a “relationship” with us that God desires. He wants us to seek His face… not His hands. He wants us to know Him and love Him, for who He is…
However, God does in fact, want us to “ask” when we have a need or even a desire.
In one verse of the Bible, Philippians 4:6, Paul tells us “how” to ask. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by PRAYER and petition, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.” A thankful heart shows faith, trust and confidence in the goodness of God, that He will always do what is best for us.
In another verse, John 15:7, it reads “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ASK whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”. What a powerful promise! Of course, it is conditional on us abiding in His words. The more we live in and around His Word, the better we will know Him… how He thinks… what He desires… and ultimately what His will is for us in any situation.
Hearing God’s Voice
A very revealing story is found in the Old Testament in 1 Kings 19:12. The prophet Elijah is hiding out in a cave and experiences three dramatic and powerful forces of nature… wind, an earthquake, and fire… and yet the scriptures tell us, “…but the Lord was not in” them. The verse goes on to read “and then I heard the sound of a “GENTLE WHISPER”. Clearly, the Lord is wanting us to understand that His voice is soft and gentle, requiring a discerning and attentive ear to recognize.
The PEACE of God… or the lack of it… is one of the most powerful tools a believer has for knowing God’s voice and even His will for us in the choices and decisions of life. Here is an important verse to memorize, meditate on and apply to our daily lives to keep us in the will of God.
“Let the peace of God rule in your hearts” Colossians 3:15
The word “rule” here translates from the Greek language as “umpire or referee”. In baseball terms, this verse might translate to “Let God’s peace in your heart call the ‘balls and strikes’”.
God desires to guide us every step of the way. Romans 8:14 reads “They that are LED BY THE SPIRIT are the children of God.” Notice that the Holy Spirit does not “push” or “force” us into the will of God, but rather He goes out ahead of us and leads us. It is our part to “follow” His lead.
We see this in John 10, where Jesus says concerning the Good Shepherd… “the sheep HEAR HIS VOICE” and again “the sheep FOLLOW HIM, for they KNOW HIS VOICE.”
It is clearly God’s desire for us to KNOW His voice… and even more so that we learn to FOLLOW His gentle leading.
Prayers That Get Answered
It has been said that the number one reason prayers are not answered is that they were “never prayed!”. Of course, this is a play on words, but there is an element of truth here. Hoping for… Thinking about… Wishing for… are not praying. We need to ASK…
“You don’t have because you don’t ask” James 4:2
Also, our prayers need to be consistent with God’s revealed will. The verse below clearly shows how vitally important it is for us to be often in His Word… so we can KNOW His will… and then have our prayers answered.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that If we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that WE HAVE WHAT WE ASKED of Him.” I John 5:14-15
Another condition is that we need to BELIEVE that we will in fact receive what we are asking for. Jesus went so far as to say that we need to believe that we have already received it… in faith.
“Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
God loves faith…
Building an Intimate Relationship with God
God wants us to pursue Him… to seek Him… God wants us to love Him and desire to be with Him, not for what we can get from Him, but just because we love Him.
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
This is a promise… and we can be confident that God will keep His part.
God desires closeness and intimacy with us.
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15
Jesus shows us the way
“He (Jesus) went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.” Matthew 14:23 (alone with His Father)
Like any good relationship, it requires time alone with each other. And not because of duty, but because of desire. You want to be with each other. In a really good relationship, it doesn’t even matter what you are doing… just being together is enough.