God is really into hearing our prayers.
So much so, we are commanded to pray over and over throughout the scriptures.
When you look at the two to three key Greek words that we translate into the English word prayer, they really mean to ask.
This old English word and its meaning are very familiar to Shakespearian devotees. “I pray thee (ask you), doest thou lovest me?
God wants us to be asking him for stuff all the time.
“But Milan, are you telling me that praise, thanksgiving, confession and adoration isn’t prayer?”
Yes I am.
But God also likes these things as well, so keep it up… don’t stop. While you are talking to God when you do these things, which some would then call prayer… in a technical sense, you are not really praying until you start asking.
You know what I mean?
As the Apostle James said, “You have not because you ask not (James 4:2).”
Oh, that’s clearer.
As I said last week, how much do we really pray for God to show us his will for our lives… to have more insight as to His character and love for us?
To be impressed with and enamored with His extreme love for us?
How much to we ask Him for these things?
How much do we expect from Him in return?
For most of us, practically speaking, it is very little.
“For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name that He would grant you, [Paul is asking here] according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith and that you, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge and that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever, Amen (Ephesians 4: 14-21).”
At the fifteenth year of our marriage, we hit a wall where we were both frustrated and stuck in a core pattern (see How We Love, Duets That Damage). I was lost and could figure out how to get past my fears and begin to be able to see Kay in a different light. I wrestled with God for days on end, seeking Him to know His love for me and for Kay, as well as how I could then see Kay differently than I had ever seen her before.
One day as I was driving on the 405 freeway, my mind was wandering and I was thinking about our marriage and Kay, and all of a sudden, for the very first time, I saw a lonely little seven year old sitting on her twin bed, in her room upstairs… alone… sad… no one understanding her… lonely and despondent.
I realized this was the same little girl inside the grown up woman that I was married to.
From that moment on, I experienced a shift.
I saw her differently which then caused me to feel and react differently.
Somehow, that was a turning point… both of us will point to it a critical and vital moment in our relationship.
Now twenty three years later, I see that the shift came as a result of aggressive intentional prayer.
Thanks for listening… more next week.
Milan & Kay