Last week I ended my devotional by saying that prayer ought to feel like love not duty. As Paul Miller writes, “[Jesus’] prayer life is an expression of his relationship with his Father. He wants to be alone with the person he loves” (NavPress, Colorado Springs: 2009, 45). This week I want to say a little more about that word “alone.”
Jesus didn’t do prayer on the fly. He didn’t squeeze it in amidst other things. Certainly, he above all people knew what it meant to pray without ceasing and he prayed at all times, but that was neither the totality nor the heart of his prayer life.
Rather, the heart of his prayer life was being completely and regularly alone with his Father because the purpose of his prayer life was love. Surely there was work to be done and Jesus needed wisdom and power for that work, but that work was an overflow of the love he shared with his Father—the same love that sent him into the world in the first place (see John 17).
As Miller writes, “Jesus’ example teaches us that prayer is about relationship. When he prays, he is not performing a duty; he is getting close to his Father.
“Any relationship, if it’s going to grow, needs private space, time together without an agenda, where you can get to know each other. This creates an environment where closeness can happen, where we can begin to understand each other’s hearts.
“You don’t create intimacy; you make room for it. This is true whether you’re talking about your spouse, your friend, or God. You need space together. Efficiency, multi-tasking, and busyness all kill intimacy. In short, you can’t get to know God on the fly.
“If Jesus had to pull away from people and noise in order to pray, then it makes sense that we need to as well” (47).
Amen. May the Lord grant us a greater love for him so that we will put aside excuses and learn to be with him who loved us from before the foundation of the world. May we learn the beauty and power of a life lived with God in prayer and the Word.
Longing to be alone with our Father,Pastor Charlie