Prayer… prayer… prayer… it has been on my mind and heart constantly lately. God is using my time in His Word to challenge me in prayer. God is using friends around me to bring it to my attention. It is amazing how He works. He will tirelessly pursue us because He desires to facilitate constant transformation in us.
I love education and believe in it strongly. I believe pastors should pursue all educational avenues available to them with the goal of our love for God abounding more and more, with knowledge and all discernment. Unfortunately, regardless of the great caliber of education and/or students and pastors, we are all sinful. I owe an unquantifiable amount of gratitude to my great professors who blessed me tremendously through my educational journey. The struggle I found was not with their teaching, but rather my sinfulness.
I have found in moments of my spiritual journey that the more I learn about God the farther from me He becomes. To say it another way… as I have invested so much in learning about Him and how He works, He has sometimes become more of an object of study than my personal Savior.
I don’t believe you have to be a person possessing theological degrees to have this struggle. Within the Church subculture we too often equate knowledge with spiritual maturity. Although it plays a significant part, it is far from being the indicator of maturity and spiritual wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy can either enflame arrogance or it can facilitate prostrate humility.
I have found in my own journey that prayer is the spiritual activity in my life that takes knowledge of God and uses it to infuse my relationship with Him. When I am not praying then I am just puffing myself up with knowledge. When I am praying I am taking the knowledge of scripture and asking God to transform my life with it.
We can believe ABOUT God and be really smart and have all the answers to all the Bible trivia questions. However, a believe IN God will produce prayer in our lives. Believing in the sacrificial gift of God’s only Son to die a death that we deserved demands more than intellectual engagement. Belief in that kind of unprecedented love is emotional.
We are in a day where intellectualism has become idolatry. It is just another facade we project in order to paint a picture of ourselves as holy to those around us. I was recently meeting with a friend and was reminded of the great missionary George Mueller. History tells of the ground being worn at his bedside at the exact places where his knees rested each day as he would plead for provision, wisdom, and guidance from the Lord.
All of the revivals of God’s work throughout history were sparked by veracious prayer. We find ourselves at another impasse between a natural God and a supernatural God. Mere knowledge about God is a very natural experience of Him limited by our own intellect. Prayer takes the natural and makes this knowledge supernatural as we are able to grow into greater depths of intimacy with the God of the Bible.
The abyss between knowledge and relationship is bridged through prayer. I have found that the greatest gift I can give to my wife, family, friends, and church which God has called me to lead is the priority of prayer in my life.
How does prayer impact your personal relationship with Jesus? Have you had seasons where prayer hasn’t been a priority in your life and you have felt the lack of intimacy in your relationship with Him?