Prayer is a great gift from God to you. Think about it, the creator of the universe wants to have a conversation with you, wants to know you intimately, wants you to know Him intimately, wants you to find Peace in Him!
Brennan Manning tells the powerful story of an old man who was dying of cancer:
The man’s daughter had asked the local priest to come and pray with her father. When the priest arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on 2 pillows…and an empty chair beside the bed. The priest assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit.
“I guess you were expecting me” he said. “No, who are you?” “I’m the new associate at your parish” the priest replied. “When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.” “Oh yeah, the chair” said the bed ridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?” Puzzled, the priest shut the door. “I’ve never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man. “But all my life I have never known how to pray. At Sunday mass I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt of prayer” the old man continued, “until one day about 4 years ago my best friend said to me, “Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here’s what I suggest. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair! It’s not spooky, because He promised “I’ll be with you always.” Then just speak to Him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now.”
“So, father, I tried it and I liked it so much that I do it a couple hours every day. I’m careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she would either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm!” The priest was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the rectory. 2 nights later the daughter called to tell the priest that her daddy had died that afternoon. “Did he seem to die in peace” he asked. “Yes, when I left the house about 2 o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store about an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange. In fact, beyond strange….it was kind of weird. Apparently just before daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed.”
God wants you to have that same type of relationship with Him….for you to have the same relationship with Him that His disciples had when He walked the earth physically. Sometimes that seems difficult since we can not see Him physically in front of us. And yet He promises to be with you 24/7. Here are a few of the many verses that assure us that He is always with you!
Isaiah 41:10… So do not fear, for I am with you;do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Joshua 1:9… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Romans 8:38-39… For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It would have been great to have walked with Jesus…to talk with Jesus…to eat with Jesus…to travel and hang out with Jesus. In particular…I think of the relationship that John had with Jesus. For instance at the last supper:
John 13:23,25…One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him………….Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
John sat close enough to lean on Jesus. Later the story is mentioned again:
John 21:20… Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”)
The incredible news is that the Jesus that we know as Lord and Savior is no less accessible to you than He was in the flesh to the disciples!
He is there for you to talk to on the good days! Take time to thank Him for the countless blessings in your life.
He is also available to you on the not so good days (or seasons)! Take time to share the hurts, needs, issues, and thoughts that plague you.
A fancy “church” word is Anthropomorphism. We attribute human characteristics to God. This story above brought the comfort of laying your head in His lap. This image can help us to envision God by our side. For instance:
Envisioning His arms hugging you on difficult days.
- His shoulder for you to cry on.
- His hands to hold on to you with His strength.
- His ears to listen to your most intimate words.
- His feet to walk with you as you pace the floor anxiously.
- His heart filled with Love for you…His child.
The questions for you to ponder are:
- Do you have that kind of relationship with Jesus? If not, He wants to hear from you!
- Are you and Jesus so close that you can talk with Him as you would a friend? Talk to Him throughout your day!
- Do you know that He loves you passionately? He sent His Son to die for you!
- Do you know that He is interested in you…wants to know all about your life situation? Oh sure, He knows everything, but wants you to share your thoughts, hopes, dreams, and struggles with Him!
- Can you lay your head in His lap…can you feel His heartbeat? The King of kings wants an intimate relationship with you!
He is just dying to have that kind of intimate relationship with you!
Zephaniah 3:17… The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Humor for the day:
A priest buys a lawn mower at a yard sale. Back home, he pulls on the starter rope a few times with no results. He storms back to the yard sale and tells the previous owner, “I can’t get the mower to start!” “That’s because you have to curse to get it started,” says the man. “I’m a man of the cloth. I don’t even remember how to curse.” “You keep pulling on that rope, and it’ll come back to you.”