Praying is like breathing. God wants our praying to be as easy and as natural as breathing and as non-stop, continuous, do-it-without-thinking as breathing is. We never stop breathing. We should never stop praying.

Paul said, pray without ceasing, Thessalonians 5:17. Paul knew the vital thing in the life of a Christian was to pray. Prayer is as vital to our spiritual life as breathing is to our natural life. 

Jesus’ life was a life of prayer. Jesus assumed that we would pray. Matthew records Jesus teaching on prayer and three times in a row Jesus said, when you pray, Matthew 6:5, 6:6 and 6:7. Then in verse 9 Jesus said, this is howbegin by giving glory to God.

The gospels record that Jesus prayed constantly, for extended periods of time, and He went to solitary places to get alone with God, the Father.

Here are just a few instances:

  • Jesus went up on a mountainside by himself to pray, Matthew 14:23.
  • Jesus prayed all night, till shortly before dawn, Matthew 14:25.
  • Jesus got up very early in the morning… went off to a solitary place, where he prayed, Mark 1:35.
  • Jesus spent all night praying, Luke 6:12.
  • Jesus was praying in private, Luke 9:18.
  • In the gospel of John, Jesus thanks God for always hearing Him, I know that you always hear me, John 11:42.

If Jesus made such a priority of prayer, shouldn’t we? 

Prayer is communication with God. Communication is two way. We speak and listen. God speaks and He listens. God will use many ways to grab out attention. We just have to have our spiritual attention tuned into to seeing and hearing Him.

As a baby grows in their ability to communicate with their mom and dad they learn many verbal and non-verbal tools of communication. A baby’s language skills develop very naturally through continued use. Our prayer–our ability to communicate with God–develops the same way, naturally through continual use.

As a baby grows up, communication is as natural as breathing. In the same way, our prayer grows up and becomes like breathing: something we do without thinking, a continual conversation with God, a worshipful attitude all day long. Even the busiest day can be filled with a constant communication with God that is prayerful and worshipful.

Prayer is not difficult. It might begin as a discipline to create the habit, but prayer never stays a discipline, at least if the desire is to truly know God and surrender to Him. Without surrender, prayer will be difficult. Surrender is the key word here.

Prayer quickly becomes a delight, because God gives ever-increasing revelation of Himself and we realize we are spending time with the Creator of the heavens that the earth. And God is the initiator of the relationship in the first place. So…

Prayer becomes our natural response to God’s heart that is constantly calling to ours. As we grow closer to His heart, prayer is the natural communication that flows back to Him expressing our thanks and worship. Our prayer becomes less about asking Him for things and much more an expression of thanks and worship. Our Father knows what we need before we ask Him, Matthew 6:8. But this doesn’t mean we don’t ask for things, it simply changes what we ask for and how we ask.

God longs jealously for a deep relationship with us. A relationship only grows as deep and intimate as the communication allows. We only grow into a deep relationship with God through continual prayer–and surrender. God’s promise to us is, everyone who asks, receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened, Matthew 7:7. No time spent seeking God is ever wasted or lost. He responds to us by giving even more of Himself to us. If we seek Him, we will find Him, Jeremiah 29:13. God gives Himself lavishly. He wants to be known by us. He has made the way easy for us to know Him, it through continual prayer.

Come to meJesus invites everyone. There is no exclusivity here. The Gospel is inclusive.

The invitation is:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for you souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light, Matthew 11:28-30.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

  • Come as you are.
  • Those who are “toiling” and under any/every form of human sin, sorrow, suffering—physical or spiritual.
  • Jesus gives what no one else can give—rest from the burden of sin, rest from the weariness of fruitless and religious works.
  • We just have to come to Him… Jesus.

Take my yoke upon you

  • Jesus’ yoke is His teaching and sovereign rule in our lives.
  • It’s free and opposite from the yoke of the religious and worldly political systems.
  • It’s free from any/every oppression.
  • Submitting to Jesus’ rule in our hearts is submitting to His Kingship. He’s not a dictator king with millions of expendable minions building His empire. He’s a Shepherd-King, responsible to care for His people, giving up His own life to do so.
  • His yoke brings incredible freedom and liberty.

Learn from me

  • By allowing Jesus to be our Teacher, His life and nature will be fully reproduced in us.

For I am gentle and humble in heart

  • Jesus’ gentleness is incredible strength under incredible control. It can be directed to bring real help to people. Always lifting people up, never crushing, never harsh, never damaging hearts, always gentle. God’s divine strength only works through people with gentle hands and humble hearts.
  • Jesus’ example is of humility is lowliness of heart. A heart bowed low, not lifted up in self-exaltation, nor self-reliance. A heart completely reliant on God—for everything. It’s the absence of pride and self-assertion.

And you will find rest for you souls

  • Relief, ease, refreshment, blessed quiet solitude, spiritual food.
  • This is a restful and secure peace that passes all understanding, Philippians 4:7.

For my burden is easy and my yoke is light

  • The Greek word for “easy” has a much richer meaning than we are used to: good, helpful, kind, profitable, useful, productive, well-fitted, beneficial, eternally useful.
  • What’s Jesus’ burden? It’s His command that we should love ALL our brothers and sisters–and those yet to be brought into God’s family. This is no small command, but it’s a command He enables us to carry out. He gives us His ability to love…

We are not left alone. We are never alone. We get His strength and His life and His freedom. We just have to come to Jesus…

The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman

December 18, 2015

The Holy Spirit does not compete to be heard.

He does not raise His voice above the busy fray of our lives.

He will not compete with our own loud voice, loud thoughts, or logical rationalizing… rational-lies-ing!

The Holy Spirit will not compete with our many beloved distractions. Minuscule as they are in comparison to Who He is.

He never asserts His way.

The Holy Spirit is a gentleman.

He will never barge into our lives uninvited.

And like any uninvited or snubbed guest who does not feel welcome, He will make His presence scarce.

He will quietly remain in the background of our lives. Always there. Always seeing. Always knowing. All ways yearning over us with great longing for intimacy.

But, He will never demand our attention.

The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman.

He will remain a silent and mostly inactive partner in our lives unless we prioritize Him and make it known to Him–the One we can’t fool, He is welcome, vitally needed, valued as precious, required even more than the oxygen in our lungs…