I’ll never forget when my youngest son was 2 months old. I was holding him in my arms when he looked me straight in the eyes, reached out his arms to me and gave me this tremendous hug. It was breathtaking, such love. Nothing mental, no technique, just something from the deepest place of the heart, the child reaching out in love to his father. That’s how prayer should be. Prayer is really what it’s all about. The reason Jesus came, died on the cross and rose from the dead was to restore our access to the Father, through Himself.
But just like my tiny son, you don’t really have to understand it. It’s ok to try to understand it and as we get older, our minds often come to the fore much more. But prayer is a thing of the heart. So if you don’t understand it all, don’t worry, you don’t have to.
Prayer is what God wants. He loves us and wants us to love Him. And the same way we love our parents or our wife or husband or children, and want to spend time with them and talk to them and hear from them, God in the same way wants that with us. That’s prayer. King David said we should “pour out our hearts before Him” (Psalm 62:8). What a great word picture, to pour out our hearts. And that’s how it should be. Just talking to God, telling Him what’s on your heart, your joys, your fears, your thanks, your needs, your observations, God can take it all and wants to.
And the same way it’s not work or a burden or labor to communicate with your children or your dearest friend, prayer should not be some laborious work. It should be the high point of your day, something you just wouldn’t want to miss for anything.
But maybe this is pretty new to you and you’re not too sure about the whole thing. Well, just remember, “God is love” (I John 4:8). He loves you. Jesus said that “God is a spirit” (John 4:23) and then the apostle John said that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5). So the invisible, loving God of the Universe longs to have contact and a relationship with you.
Speaking of “contact”, there’s a movie by that name and there’s a scene in it where Jody Foster is trying to see if she can get some signal back from some alien civilization by means of radio telescopes. Here’s the clip from the movie where she first gets signals back that she knows are from a distant civilization.
That’s always reminded me of the first time I really knew and understood that there is a real God, a supreme power of the spiritual world who is signaling us and wants to be in contact with us. The same utter, unimaginable wonder, amazement and joy unspeakable that Jody Foster had when hearing those signals for the first time, that was how I was when I first knew for sure that there is a real God that the Bible has told us about.
So what follows next in the movie is that she and her team, and then the whole world, begin building on that initial contact and ultimately have “close encounters of the third kind” with the aliens. But for us who know that God is real, this doesn’t have to be a movie that we walk out of. This is the reality we can live in when we have contact with the God of Eternity.
So I hope you are trying to have daily “contact” with God, pouring out your heart before Him, and even receiving His “signals” back. Because prayer isn’t a one way street. God longs to communicate back to us.
It may not be in an immediate audible voice. But I can more than guarantee you that if you are talking to Him, He’s going to be communicating with you. He said one time, “Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you know not” (Jeremiah 33:3). And there are just oodles of promises in the Bible like that. In fact the Bible is just full of communication and interaction between God and His people.
And he wants to have the same relationship with you. He wants you to love Him and be helped by him and instructed and protected and strengthened and enlightened and blessed beyond your wildest dreams. That’s what God wants to do for you through your prayers and your time with Him.
It’s impossible to cover every aspect of prayer in such a short post here. Maybe I can write some more later or tell you about some special answers I’ve had to my prayers. But when it comes to spiritual habits, making prayer a habit and a primary part of your life is right at the top of the list.