The morning breeze billows the sheer white curtains in and out of the open sliding door as if they are engaged in a waltz from the sky. As I sit out on my patio watching this exchange, my heart stirs and I remember a thousand moments like this in the flash of a second. These are the bits which leave the most lasting impressions on me. The wind is being slurped up into my thirsty house which has been closed up, still, and dormant all night long,
Every morning, by opening the rooms this way, I immediately design my day with the hope of receptiveness. My home exhales from the work of guarding and sheltering the humans, and then inhales fresh wisps from the vault of Heaven. I smile inside because it is within this simplicity I understand prayer.
Why do we pray? Is it because we want to assist God in His running of things? It is not. Is it because prayer gives us control over things? It does not. Is it because our connection to Adonai is our very breath? It is. As the wind swirls into the house, coaxing it from slumber, so His children are rewarded as they open the chambers of their hearts for Him to breathe His life into all the rooms within it.
Prayer is an embedded, spontaneous prescription for connectivity and wisdom provided by the One Source of all truth. There are times Believers pray together and times we pray alone. We pray in desperation, and we pray in gratitude. We pray when we are stuck, and we pray when we are flying too high, too fast. Prayer lifts us up so we may be deeply rooted. Prayer restores the moments we throw away as we race toward prizes. It quickens our spirits so we may slow down. It fills our blankness so we can be simple. Prayer completely covers us so we may be fearlessly exposed. It paints on the canvas of our hearts the landscape of His, one Divine brush stroke at a time.
What I find fascinating is that prayer is not just a tool we use to connect with Adonai, but rather, prayer is the tool He Himself uses to speak to us, guide us, and comfort us. The dynamic of prayer was woven into the process of how we interpret information. We are vessels of joy for the Father to delight in. Subsequently, in His Divine intelligence He designed us to perceive, through narrative (prayer), the perspective of our audience. When we pray, who is our audience? He is! An audience of one He is, and our entire world changes forever as the fruit of our communion with Him.
"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."Jeremiah 33:3
Have you ever seen something differently when filtering it through another's perspective? Let's use a proverbial example. Perhaps you invited your Mother in Law over for dinner. You look around your house with her cleanliness standards in mind and notice how the floor could use a mopping. It wasn't that on some level you didn't notice that the floor could use some attention, but through the eyes of the guest you are expecting, it stands out, the solution illuminates, and you are alarmed enough to take action and clean it.
"Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Proverbs 9:10
I'll put it another way. Think of a time when you have ruminated about a painful interaction that has left you emotionally wounded. As you roll it about in your mind getting more upset with each passing minute you decide to confide in a friend for some comfort. As you share the details of the event with your friend, you might hear things in the story for the first time AS YOU SPEAK because you are hearing what your protective, "happy to be in the know" friend hears and not just your perspective. This impacts you. It expands the scope of your experience in reliving the wound even as it comforts you to connect with someone in a common life struggle. Now picture sharing that same story with an efficient therapist. Your words ring out, and suddenly AS YOU SPEAK you hear the biases and imbalances your own pain has caused you to lean into. This is because you are now looking through the lens of a professional who can thoughtfully decipher the areas where you are the problem, where you are the solution, and when you should be still.
In essence, the same story told to three sets of ears makes it three different stories despite there being only one factually true version. Is your version the truth? Partly, but mingled with your woundedness and limited view of the other person involved in the painful interaction, it is not the whole truth. Is your friend's version the truth? Partly, but coexisting with their implicit loyalty to your position and the privilege they feel for being your confidant, that is not the whole truth either. The truest version within the tenets of this example would be that of the therapist. The therapist approaches the information free from biases while distributing fairness upon all parties involved, and with a focus on a restorative solution for all. It's the story we hear from this balanced perspective that brings us to understanding, comfort, and direction.
Prayer is sharing our hearts with the Wonderful Counselor Who loves us all, knows all, and is justice for all. Why does the fear of the Lord hearken the beginning of wisdom? Because when we can grasp, even loosely, the vastness of His glory, power, intelligence, and might, our words to Him make sense to us on HIS terms because of His attributes.It's not just that He is listening. It is that He is I AM.
We narrate our lives in prayer and hear it through His ears as an artistic choice of procedure by the Designer. Ultimately, we filter our lives through glory and watch our thoughts become purified from it. The answers for us distill out of His perfection. Simply because He is who He says He is, we gain wisdom by just connecting with Him.
When we pray as a group, we hear what He hears from our assembled voices, and we are moved in that particular manner, corporately. In so doing, we connect as a family seeking the face of Adonai, resetting our compasses together. When we pray alone, we hear what He hears from the private wailing of our dangling lives. If we listen, we hear His heart on whatever we have brought. We seek answers, and just by praying, we get them. We might not always fully appreciate or understand the form or timing in which they manifest, but they are there just the same. Sometimes that answer is no more complicated than; "You can let that go. It's not your battle." Our petitions are sifted through who He is, and the echoes that return to us cause us to understand His heart and trust His ways. The ultimate answer is connecting with Him, and He does the rest, through us, for Himself.
Learning His voice in context with the love He has for us is a key component of understanding prayer. When we present to Him our brokenness, He sees us and restores us. When we submit ourselves to Him as unworthy, unlovable beings who don't deserve forgiveness despite repentance, He cannot receive those lies. Those words cannot enter into His light, so they slink back into the darkness we opt to carry which prevents us from seeing ourselves as He sees us, which are direct objects of His redemptive power. If you hated yourself this morning, let His perspective of you sink in. You will hate yourself no more. He is enough, and He gave you everything.
"In my distress, I called to the Lord;I cried to my God for help.From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears."
The mechanism of prayer is built into us to ignite when invoked. One of the ways He communicates with us is simply in how He designed us to communicate, period. He fashioned our hearts to respond to the Truth. Imbued with the capacity to understand His ways with the very language of our souls, both spoken or unspoken, we are living, breathing, children formed by His glory sent to a darkened Earth that cries out for Light. Prayer is the miraculous architecture within human beings woven into the very way we think. This design relies on our will. Thus it is provisional to us being meek before Him, having the desire to know Him, and whether or not we submit ourselves to Him as the rivers of restoration He tells us we are.
Prayer is many things. It is reciprocated connection and intimacy. It is the path to wisdom and blessing. It is the anchor for our need to be still and harbored. It is the room of comfort constructed within us that we slowly furnish with His character over years of time spent together. It is the mutual pursuit between Adonai and you in an unquenchable inquiry. He seeks you. He implores you to seek Him but leaves that choice in your hands.
When you lift your hands to Him, you are answering the call He has set in motion reverberating throughout the universe and the galaxies beyond the galaxies. That call is; "Come to Me. I am."
"Accept my prayer as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering." Psalm 141:2