Praying is tough. It’s awkward. It can feel ineffective. It can seem religious but not relational. Surely I’m not the only one who has felt this way about prayer. Anyone else?
Now while I still don’t consider myself a ‘prayer princess’ or one who would say that’s her spiritual gifting, my prayer life is becoming richer and deeper as my understanding of how Jesus changes everything grows . . .
Let’s start in the beginning. When Adam and Eve walked with the Lord in the Garden of Eden, they could interact with Him directly and casually. The closeness was tangible and present. However, as soon as Eve was tempted, ate the apple, and sinned against God, the intimacy and direct relationship was severed. Why? Because sin stained our own holiness. It’s not that the Lord didn’t WANT to be near them, He could NOT be near them in this same way as His holiness is too powerful. Moses was one of the few who got to closely interact with the Lord in the Old Testament. And even then his radiant face literally glowed and had to be covered up. (see Exodus 34:29-35)
Yet despite the initial separation and our CONTINUED sinful choices that don’t align with His love, God has been pursuing us and drawing us near to bring us back to Eden with Him. To reinstate that intimacy and restore the holy relationship He originally designed. With sin now present, separating us from our Father, additional holy things needed to be present to counter our unholy sin. So we read about sacrifices, altars, cleanliness guidelines, priests, formal prayers, etc in the Old Testament. There was a Holy Temple that contained the Holy of Holies where priests would meet with God. Of course a veil separated our Lord from the priests so they wouldn’t die in His presence.
And then . . .
And then Jesus came and changed everything. He came near. He pursued us. The Son of God came to earth, walked among His people, shared the greatest message ever, loved beyond our capacity, was tempted, tried, and tortured, died a horrific death, was buried, and then rose again. There’s one little additional bit in that list of things Jesus that too this day fills me with awe. When Jesus died, that veil near the Holy of Holies, that curtain that separated the Lord from the priests for their protection, just ripped in two! Why? Because once Jesus died on the cross for OUR sins, there was no longer need for separation between the Lord and us. No more veils, no more sacrifices, no more altars, no more Holy of Holies preventing our being near our God!
Now stick with me for the final and best part of this summary. Jesus changed everything when the veil or curtain got ripped in two. And then Jesus made everything even better when He gave us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us! Not just near us, but IN US! This is how we can refer to our bodies as ‘His temple’. But that’s for a later post. 😉 And guess what, now we all can have radiant faces like Moses when we look to Him! (see Psalm 34:5)
And as we begin to experience His Spirit alive in us, our prayers, praises, and meditation change. To experience something is a process and takes practice. This is no different than with the Holy Spirit.
If you’re like me, even the term ‘Holy Spirit’ seemed crazy, silly, scary, and intimidating all at the same time. No pressure here – your relationship with the Lord is unique to you and He meets you right where you are and how you need. You may already be experiencing the Holy Spirit and not even realize it or you may want to begin with some of the ideas below to enhance your prayers, praises, and meditations.
Just want to note that I have never ‘heard’ from the Lord. Nothing audible here! But I’m not an auditory learner. I’m a visual learner. And that’s how the Lord connects with me. Through my imagination with images and visual reminders either in my mind or throughout my day. Our God is a personal and creative Lord. And that’s how He desires to connect with you.
While Jesus walked on earth, He taught about prayer, encouraging us to keep it simple and focused on God. The Lord’s prayer is a great place to start, and I’m a sucker for a colorful, fun graphic! Gotta love good visuals, right?!
Another favorite prayer of mine can be found in Ephesians 3. Pray this over and over again and daily for a week or two. Pray it for yourself, your spouse, your kids, your parents and siblings, your coworkers, your community, etc. Each time you read over it, ask the Lord to bring His emphasis to each little phrase. This is such a rich and powerful passage! Do you believe its words? If not, that’s okay too. Great thing to talk about with the Lord.
We don’t like to pause, sit, and be still. We don’t like to feel unproductive. We don’t like to focus on our own thoughts and feelings. And I am including myself in these ‘we’ statement. Yet the Lord has been showing how necessary, to our health, wholeness, and holiness, it is to rest and revel in our Savior. It’s important to our prayer life and the way we experience His Spirit.
In addition, we must make space to listen to Him as much as we share. I invite you to share with Him in casual conversation (or in writing) about a few things you have this week and how you feel about them. Then just listen to His response about each. You may not feel a response from Him initially or you might be overwhelmed by His response. Both are okay, okay?
A heart that doesn’t like to wonder in God will likely wander from Him.Alisa Keeton
So what does that look like? First, everyone’s answer is going to be unique to how the Lord created and wired them. It’s also influenced by the season of life we’re in as well as what our day looks like! Also, there is no wrong answer here! Next, prayer, praise, and meditation takes practice. And whether you think this is good or bad news, in reality, we won’t master this til we’re in heaven standing face to face with our King. So don’t get discouraged!
Here are some valuable tools to connect with the Lord:
John Eldredge’s Pause App and 30 Days to Resilient
Revelation Wellness Podcast – Episode #773: Rev the Word – Pray!
Worship Music – Holy Barre #13
Moving in Love – Holy Barre Workouts
Ultimately, let’s pause more, pursue the things of the Lord, pray in all occasions, praise Him for the gifts of the day, process His Word, and press play on truth-filled music. And listen. The Holy Spirit is alive and active – let’s let Him do His thing!
Wanna learn more about all this? Looking for some tangible tools to connect with the Lord? More confused now than when you began reading this post? Complete this form and we’ll connect with you!
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