When I sat down to pray this morning and do some Bible study, I asked God to show me what he would have me to do. I really need guidance on this because I'm not very good at just opening the Bible and reading scripture on my own. I get so lost and go around in circles and then I get utterly frustrated. So I asked God for help in what to read and what to study. When I went to my bookshelf to find the perfect study, I ran across this book by Cynthia Heald called A Bible Study on Becoming a Woman of Prayer. The thing that really drew me to it, besides it being a book on prayer, was the Bible verse printed across the top cover of the book. It is Jeremiah 33:3. That, to me, was no coincidence. My recently adopted LIFE VERSE! HELLO! God is speaking to me and telling me to change my life through prayer. Does he need to be any more clear on this?
So I'm reading Chapter 1 entitled An Invitation to Intimacy. There is a quote on the very first page along with my life verse Jeremiah 33:3. The quote is from a man named Martin Smith. I think he is the same Martin L. Smith who wrote a book about prayer entitled "The Word is Very Near You."
What if God does not demand prayer as much as gives prayer? What if God wants prayer in order to satisfy us? What if prayer is a means of God nourishing, restoring, healing, converting us? Suppose prayer is primarily allowing ourselves to be loved, addressed and claimed by God. What if praying means opening ourselves to the gift of God's own self and presence? What if our part in prayer is primarily letting God be giver? Suppose prayer is not a duty but the opportunity to experience healing and transforming love?
Just think about it. Prayer is our way to allow God to love us, to speak to us, and to show us who He is as God. To allow Him to heal us and transform us. To pray is to allow God to nourish our lives. Prayer is for US! A gift from God to US! Don't we want that? Isn't that what we are seeking? How then can we not pray? How can we not want that intimacy with God?
Jeremiah 29:11 is a very familiar verse to us. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." But we really shouldn't stop there. We should read the next two verses as they give the key to the hope and the future that God promises. Jeremiah 29:12-13 reads "Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." With all your heart. With ALL your heart. God is asking for our whole heart to be turned toward Him. We must open our hearts and pour out the things that are a hindrance to God. We must focus on Him completely. Seek Him with your entire heart, your entire being, and He will listen to you. That I may know the God of the universe intimately if I only open my whole heart to Him. Praise God that He wants that relationship with us. He passionately wants to know us. We are His passion, His creation, His joy!