Intimacy in Prayer
My youngest daughter is almost 2. She speaks incessantly, but English is not her forte. She expresses her ideas, thoughts, questions and concerns with an extremely limited set of comprehensible words, mixed with a barrage of incomprehensible babblings. It’s very cute.
With a very limited vocabulary, she is a limited communicator. This does not deter her from saying the same things over and again: She wants us to know all that is on her mind.
As children grow, so does their repository of words and their ability to express them. My daughter’s two older siblings brandish a far superior vocabulary with ease.
As our children become more capable of expressing themselves, our relationship with them deepens. We can understand more of what is going on in their minds. They want us to know everything they know. And they also want to know what we are thinking as parents. They are acutely cognizant of us, and our relationship is important to them.
God the Father desires to build a deep, intimate and expressive relationship with each of His people. “[T]he prayer of the upright is his delight” (Proverbs 15:8). We should desire the same closeness with Him, just as a little child desires to be close with his parents.
If God has called you into a relationship with Him, then that is your most important relationship. “Our primary focus in life must be on how we talk to God in prayer!” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote (Royal Vision, May-June 1998).
But think about this from God’s perspective: This relationship is very important to Him too. He is eager to hear from us. “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry” (Psalm 34:15). Our Father greatly anticipates spending time with us.
Sadly, most people when they talk to God haven’t really gone beyond the level of the infant with the limited vocabulary. Many just repeat the same things over and over (Matthew 6:7). This is an easy bad habit to sink into. This kind of prayer does not build a close Father-child relationship.
Our prayerful relationship with God will grow according to the amount of time we spend with God in prayer, and according to the quality of that time.
I don’t see my children much on a regular weekday. The time I do have with them is invaluable, not just for me to fulfill my desire to be with them but because they need their father.
Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “God seems unreal and far away only to those who have not established and are not actively maintaining close personal contact! It is not a matter of distance or visibility—it is a matter of contact” (Plain Truth, May 1963).
If I got home from work each day and spent no real time with my children, our relationship would quickly dissolve. When we do have a series of quality experiences together, it is amazing how close we become—even with the youngest, who barely speaks a lick of English.
Think about our time in prayer in the same way. Our time in prayer with God is extremely valuable. It is time we set aside to build a closer, more intimate relationship with Him.
Mr. Armstrong experienced this deepening relationship with God from the outset of his conversion. “… I began to realize a new fellowship and friendship had come into my life,” he wrote in his autobiography. “I began to be conscious of a contact and fellowship with Christ, and with God the Father. When I read and studied the Bible, God was talking to me, and now I loved to listen! I began to pray, and knew that in prayer I was talking with God. I was not yet very well acquainted with God. But one gets to be better acquainted with another by constant contact and continuous conversation.”
Again, think about this from God’s perspective. He was surely excited to have Mr. Armstrong as a begotten son and friend. He could hear someone talk to Him with passion and fervor. God had someone who was very converted to converse with.
This is the relationship God wants with each of us. Mr. Armstrong commented in a World Tomorrow broadcast, “[P]rayer should be an intimate thing where you’re really talking to God. God is real. … Learn to talk to Him ….”
Just as other interests, demands on our time, materialism and distractions can so easily interfere with family life, so can these hinder our prayer life. We must work hard to preserve an intimate relationship with our Father.
Mr. Armstrong wrote of this common problem: “[O]ur minds are so filled with the material interests of this life; our minds and our hearts are so far from God; we are so out of touch with Him through lack of enough time spent in the study of His Word and lack of enough of the right kind of surrendered, submissive, earnest and heartrending prayer …” (The Plain Truth About Healing).
Your relationship with God should dominate your life. Share with Him your innermost thoughts, questions and concerns, all with intimate, earnest and sometimes passionate expression.
To learn more, request your free copy of How to Pray.