Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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My heart has heard You say, “Come and talk with Me.” And my heart
responds, “Lord, I am coming” (v.8).
Throughout the day, my husband and I text each
other. Some texts consist of requests for information
or reminders of a to-do list. Oftentimes, though, a
brief message conveying our love does wonders to boost
our sense of closeness in an otherwise busy day. A quick
text, however, can only accentuate what has already
been formed in the larger context of the time and energy
invested in our relationship. To expect our marriage to live
on texts alone would not only be foolish, but would also
speak volumes about the value we place on intimacy.
Prayer is our means of communication with Jesus—
the One who loved us enough to selflessly bear our
punishment on the cross. If perceived as a requirement,
something outside the context of love, prayer can easily
become a series of words rooted in works. Just as a
marriage will falter when communication becomes
obligatory, so too our relationship with Jesus can
become awkward and stilted if we don’t understand the
true heart of prayer.
More consistent than any human could ever be (Psalm
27:10), God is our true refuge (vv.1-3). Prayer, however,
is much bigger than our telling God what we want.
When we expect Him to answer our cries for help and
then respond with a “text” message to His work, our
concept of prayer becomes small and self-serving. Quick
prayers have their place, but only when the foundation
of invested time and intimacy has been laid.
Prayer is a discipline—a skill we grow in over a period of time. Even the
disciples—after seeing Jesus preach to the multitudes, heal the sick, and leave
the Pharisees speechless—saw prayer as an area in which they needed to grow
in understanding (Luke 11:1). Do we see prayer in the same way?
What happens to our natural relationships if our communication never
goes any deeper than surface-level responses? What does it mean to be
face-to-face with God?
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