Yesterday we looked at some reasons why we pray. Prayer catapults us on the frontier of spiritual life. Maybe of all the spiritual disciplines prayer is the most central because it ushers us into communion with the Father. While defending the Sabbath healing of a sick man at the pool of Bethesda, Jesus said, “The Father loves the Son” (John 5:20). Jesus explained that since the Father loved the Son, He revealed to Jesus what to do, and in response, Jesus did what was revealed. In this case, it involved healing a man on the Sabbath.
Jesus’ statement that “the Father loves the Son” may sound a bit obvious. The Greek word used for “loves” here is phileo, and it means “to be friends with, to be fond of.” The Father and the Son were fond friends. Jesus sets for us an example this intimate friendship with the Father. This relationship enabled Jesus to see and hear what the Father was doing and revealing – including healings, miracles, and insights about people. The continual communion of Jesus’ prayer life was an integral part of this divine friendship:.
And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me (John 8:16).
Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me (John 16:32).
Jesus knew the Father was always with Him. He had a connection with the Father that was unbreakable. During Jesus’ daily life, this intimate communion was continuous and incessant. The things Jesus did were in response to what the Father wanted Him to do; He did the things the Father showed Him to do during their constant communion:
Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:28-29).
This obedience on Jesus’ part was made possible in His continual communion with the Father, receiving the Father’s direction for varying circumstances.
William Carey writes ‘Prayer – secret, fervent, believing prayer – lies at the root of all personal godliness’. To pray is to change. The closer we come to the heartbeat of God, the more we see our need and desire to be conformed to Christ.
James 4:3 talks about asking rightly. To ask rightly involves transformed passions. In prayer, we begin to think God’s thoughts after him, to desire the things he desires, to love the things he loves, to will the things he wills.
Like Jesus, we can also live in knowledge and confidence that God walks with us continually, without pause. The Bible says clearly that ‘He will never leave us nor forsake us’. Maintaining this trust may prove difficult depending on the events thrust into our lives, but nevertheless, the fact remains – the God of the universe is always with us and wants to continually fellowship with us. We simply have to respond and commune intimately with Him.
What are some of the ways we can do this? We can begin to make a practice of acknowledging that His presence is with us wherever we are. Throughout the day, we can chat with Him, praise Him, and rest in His sweet embrace. This does not require us to be verbal in the midst of crowds. It can entail an inner dialogue with our living Lord, and a listening spirit to our loving God.
Somehow, someway, we can begin to cultivate a continuous communion with God. We will soon find ourselves friends of His, and as such, those in whom He confides in and partners with.