Friday, April 17, 2015

Teach us to pray, part 52: Seeker prayers

"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10 NASB)

In yesterday's blog post, we considered the idea of seeking and finding. If what we have found in life is not what we wanted, we've been seeking the wrong thing. It is that simple. God promises that, if we seek Him, we will find Him, for He is also seeking us.

This morning, it occurred to me that this is a series on prayer. "Seeking" seems more like an issue for a series on priority or lifestyle choices, rather than prayer, until I remember that prayer is rooted in relationship. That relationship is an outgrowth of the kind of seeking that finds the One who is the object of my search. 

Yesterday, I was humming a song I learned as a child, "My Best Friend is Jesus". As I hummed aloud and listened to the words silently as they played in my head, I thought, "I really mean this!" When I learned those words as a little girl, I had no idea at all of the richness of relationship available to me, nor the depth of love that could be mine. 

Over the course of several decades, my seeking has led me to the One my heart most desired, my Lord, and to a relationship with Him. As I have spent time with Him in prayer, studied His words, and learned to trust Him, a relationship that is precious beyond all else has developed. Christ is the first one to whom I speak in the morning, before my feet hit the floor. He's the One whose "tongue is the pen of a ready writer" and supplies the words I write. He's the first One I go to with a problem, a need, a desire. He's the One I trust above all others. He's my best friend.

My best friend. As I write those words, I am utterly astounded. How can it be that someone who has done so very much sinning can find a friend in God? It seems impossible, yet our God is so forgiving, so loving and long-suffering, that He can embrace even someone like me. Someone like you. What is even more astounding is that the God who created and sustains the Universe will take the time to communicate with me, listen to me, talk to me in that Still, Small Voice in my heart!

We call that communication, between my heart and His, prayer. When I understand that prayer is simply talking to the one I love the most, it becomes a simple thing. I talk to God about all the things that concern Me, then leave those concerns in His capable hands, trusting Him to deal with every single issue. Sometimes His solutions require some action from me, but more often than not, they don't. 

If I want to have power in prayer, if  I want answered prayer, I must begin by having a relationship with the One to whom I pray. Satisfying myself, whether by the accumulation of money, houses, things, or by pleasure that lasts for a moment, or by gaining the status and power the world offers, must be set aside in order to satisfy and to please my God. Answered prayer begins with relationship, and the deeper the relationship, the deeper the conversation between us.

In teaching us to pray, Jesus taught, "Seek and you will find" because our seeking must first be for His kingdom and His righteousness. Prayer is simply the communication that flows naturally from that relationship. 

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, 
and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 NASB)