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Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Privilege of Prayer

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
I John 5:14 NIV

This morning I am entering the garden for the specific purpose of talking to the Master Gardner. Still, I am feeling a bit uncomfortable, a little intimidated, and most definitely deficient in my communication skills as I attempt to express my deepest needs. One thing I am certain of is that whatever I say, God will hear me. I believe that praying to the God of the universe is nothing short of a miraculous privilege. I will never understand how this is possible but because God has met my needs in the past I know that this is true. My God is a god who is not made of stone or imagination, but rather he is a God who hears even my faintest whisper, knows my every thought, and provides answers to all my prayers.

I admit that sometimes my heart is so heavy that I don’t know where to begin. Often I don’t even know what to say, so I say nothing. But still I come. I know that by merely coming to God I am admitting my need and that may be the most eloquent prayer that I have ever prayed or ever will pray. Sometimes it is the only prayer I have.

As I lean up against the strong trunk of my favorite old oak tree I look across the path and see a beautiful fluffy white patch of delicate baby’s breath. The simplicity of this sweet flower causes me to smile as I remember my childhood when life was innocent and free of obligations and heartache. I hear a rustle in the bushes and as I look up I see the Master Gardner approaching. When he reaches me he says, “Paula, I saw you when you headed for the garden. I saw your face and I sensed your need.” With tears in my eyes, I answer, “Yes Lord, I am in need.” Jesus points across the pathway and says, “Take a lesson from the baby’s breath and allow prayer to be the breath that exhales from your mouth and receive my peace as the very air you breathe into your spirit. Just like this simple flower, come to me in simple prayer and you will find peace.”

Today I am beginning to realize that prayer is not a complicated obligation. Prayer is a privilege. My Creator has an open door policy. God may be invisible to my eyes but let me assure you that he is an up close and personal God! I have become so accustomed to the impersonal interaction that is exhibited in this world of technology that I barely remember personal service. I still become frustrated when I hear “press one for English, press two for a technical assistance, press three to make a reservation, press four to cancel or change a reservation, press five for all other assistance or stay on the line and maybe, just maybe an agent will assist you!”

Yes, having a person to person, face to face God who hears my prayers is a definite benefit and privilege! God is not impersonal. God is still in the business of cultivating a personal relationship with each one of us and that is done through prayer. God is always available and he knows my name. God hears me when I call and he immediately begins to answer my prayer even before I finish praying. Now that is what I call customer service! God does not speak to me in an audible voice but still he speaks. He speaks through his Word, through the words of other believers, through my thoughts, and through his creation.

Today I still have many questions. How will this problem be resolved? When will this heartache end? How will God meet my need? But I am calm because today I have made a personal connection with God. I have gone to the source of my life and I have asked him for his grace not his answers. So today I am going to choose to trust God to handle my prayer according to his will for my life. I am going to leave the garden knowing that God’s answer is on the way. I am also comforted in knowing that God takes great joy in answering prayers that seem impossible because that is where his glory shines!

As I leave the garden gate and enter back into the responsibilities of life I realize that Jesus has not left me empty handed. Jesus has slipped into the pocket of my heart a small box. As I untie the shear white ribbon and lift the lid on the box I see one simple word written in gold on parchment. It simply says, “Peace” and then I notice a small snip of baby’s breath lying in the box. How simply wonderful it is that Jesus has left me this tender reminder for my heart to treasure as I wait for his answers.

God wants me to ask him for what I need but when my words fail me I must be confident that the Holy Spirit prays for me. When my deep yearnings need expression that is beyond my vocabulary, the groans of the Holy Spirit take my concerns to God. This is a language that my words cannot express. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Romans 8:26 NIV


Have you ever been unable to pray?

How does that make you feel?

Do you receive comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit prays for you in times when you cannot?

What is it about the privilege of prayer that you love the most?

When you pray do you stay in the garden until God tucks his gift of “peace” into your heart’s pocket?


Dear Jesus,

Prayer is so amazing. It is that bridge that connects me to you. Thank you for the privilege of prayer. I praise you that you are approachable and available. I am amazed that you would provide the Holy Spirit to assist me in my prayers and in my inability to express my prayers. Jesus you so want to have a personal relationship with me that you have left nothing to chance or my lack of eloquence. How I love that all you desire is that I come in simple humility of heart seeking you, not your answers. It is…

In Your Name I Pray. Amen.