Friday, January 26, 2007

Prayer ~ A Relationship, Not A Ritual

by Michele Rayburn

I look at prayer as the most important part of our relationship with the Lord. Just as there is no relationship with people, if there is no conversation, no communion, with them, so it is with God. If we don't talk to Him, commune with Him, fellowship with Him, then there is no relationship with Him...at least not a relationship that can be said to be growing in intimacy with Him.

And if we don't develop our relationship with the Lord through prayer, it will affect our relationship with the Body of Christ. We won't have much in common with each other where it counts, in the Spirit, if we don't spend time in close communion with the Lord. I think that is probably one reason why many Christians don't seem to have a fervent love for one another or “a longing to see each other”, as the Apostle Paul always did. Not only did trials and persecution drive Paul closer to the Lord, but it drove him closer to his brethren as well.

"...Pray Without Ceasing..." (1 Thess.5:17)

Charles Spurgeon once said, “As we breathe without ceasing, so must we pray without ceasing.” We shouldn't think that we can only be in a certain place at a certain time, only on our knees with our heads bowed and our eyes closed in order to pray, though that is the best kind and is foundational. We are also told to pray without ceasing which means anywhere, anytime and at all times. While driving down the road, or washing dishes, we can talk to the Lord.

We don't pick a set time to have a relationship with a friend. It’s an ongoing thing. So we shouldn’t think that we can only have a set time to have a relationship with the Lord. We really do have time to pray if we have a relationship (and not a ritual) with Him.

My mother-in-law’s favorite song was “In The Garden” and that’s how she lived her life in the Lord:

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

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