Last time, we talked about establishing a relationship with God, through Christ, by exercising our God-given channel to Him – which is fervent, continuous, heartfelt prayer. It is the foundation of our relationship with God, leading to a wondrous, satisfying life. Of course, one must act out what they learn in these prayer exchanges.
Let’s say that you might also be interested in knowing God on a deeper level. That requires a some additional ‘positioning’ on the seeker’s part; training if you will. You can start by planning each day at the outset, by seeing how you can, to the best of your ability, live it out in the context of (i.e. to satisfy) the two ‘great commandments:
“‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, unselfishly seek the best or highest good for others].’ Mt. 22:37 – 39. AMP
In this position, you help yourself and others, and break down as many barriers as possible between you and God, (i.e. ‘sin’ – things that distort, distract and discourage).
Second, you must set aside time daily to swim in God’s word. That is fundamental to getting to deepening your relationship with God. It is one of the greatest concentrations of His identity that He left for us; the other would be the universe around us and every created thing in it.
Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handing and skillfully teaching the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15 AMP
We stand alone before God. We must spend that ‘alone time’ with Him to prepare ourselves to be His vessels, which draws us closer to Him.
Finally, we always want to keep His long-suffering, merciful, abundant, gracious, unconditional and immeasurable LOVE in the forefront of our thoughts. He loves us even if it is not returned. He loves us in spite of our sin. He loves us because He is love and we were created in His love; and no one can separate us from that love. (Rm. 8:38, 39.)
Once we have positioned ourselves, we need to humble ourselves before God. We can take on that humility be understanding just how BIG our God is.
God is the ruler of the universe; and through Christ He created all things and continues to sustain them. He is the Life-Giver. (Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2.)
All truth is found in God. All love comes from God and He loves all of His creations. All goodness comes from God.
God is all-powerful; He knows all, He sees all. And this immeasurably vast expansive God reaches down to love every man, woman or child that was ever or will be born. That is a mighty BIG God. Remarkably, He wants to relate individually to each one of us.
It is a bit humbling, isn’t it?
Now, we’ll begin investigating a possible path for a deeper relationship with God, now that our soul is ready (our spirit has always been ready). Up to this point (see part one from last week), we’ve only discussed prayer that is discursive in nature, i.e. a dialogue between us and God. Let’s consider a different form of prayer – the contemplative prayer.
This type of prayer was formulated by Catholic monks. (Remember, divine insights transcend the denominations. God is not partial to whom He reveals a piece of Himself to, if the seeker is willing and positioned to see it).
Unfortunately, these same God-fearing monks have been demonized (unfounded, I believe) by other ‘mainstream Christian denominations’) who label them ‘heretical mystics.’
Contemplative prayer is a silent prayer, whereby one attempts to lay aside their interior chaos and just rest in the presence of God. It’s like a 20-minute meditation with God as your sole focus.
The practitioners first decide on a ‘sacred word’ (e.g. God, Jesus, Father, love, peace, mercy, faith, trust, etc.) that they will say mentally, if and only if they get distracted during prayer – speaking that as they concentrate on their breathing, both to bring calm and bring them back to their intention of seeking God.
The sacred word is not sacred in its inherent meaning; the sacredness arises because of the meaning that the practitioner brings to it as an expressive tool of their intent to be in God’s active presence.
The contemplative prayer is not for getting anything; it is just holding a space for God to express Himself – to see what He wants.
Religionists would have you believe that if you try to clear your mind, the devil will come in and take over. If that was the case, you wouldn’t have had God firmly implanted in your faith to begin with. It’s actually a good thing to place your worries and all the other elements of your mental chatter aside. It’s refreshing, and it can help you see where and how you act against your own best interests.
Religionists will also say that those who practice contemplative prayer are in some wacky ‘alpha state,’ where the mind is imprisoned by some droning mantra. Nothing but lies to justify their own denomination.
They’ll likewise tell you that scripture does not talk about contemplative pray. So, I ask you to contemplate these:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. Ps. 1:1, 2. NKJV
Be still and know that I am God… Ps. 46:10 NKJV
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Ps. 63:6 NKJV
My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes Ps. 119:48 NKJV
…be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity…give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine…Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress be evident to all. 1 Tim. 4:12, 13 & 15. NKJV
You must take the time to ‘be still,’ (regardless of the method you use to naturally achieve that), to let your mental stuff fall away in order to understand who God is and where He wants to lead you. Then, you will also be enriched in your ability to have your discursive prayers be more focused, effective, and bring greater glory to your Father.
Still more to come…
Goodnight and God bless.