Do you long to hear from God with more clarity? Have you ever wondered if you could have intimate conversations with God like Jesus did when He was on earth?
I would love to be sitting on a rock next to Jesus when He prayed . . .
Mark 1:35 In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.
Early in the morning, while it was still dark – Jesus leaves the house and goes to a secluded place to pray.
In the following verses, Mark tells us that the disciples had been looking for Jesus and when they found Him they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” And Jesus replied, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came.” [Mark 1:36-39]
Look at how our compassionate, servant-Savior, Jesus, obviously confident in His mission for the day, was undeterred from it, even when people needed Him.
Do you need a little of that confidence when there are too many demands on your time?
I’m always seeking to learn more about prayer . . .
In his book entitled, “Prayer”, Timothy Keller says,
“Christian prayer is fellowship with the personal God who befriends us through speech. The biblical pattern entails meditating on the words of Scripture until we respond to God with our entire being, saying “Give me an undivided heart, that . . . I may praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart.””
I remembered reading a few years back that Jewish boys learned the scriptures by sitting outside under a tree muttering them repetitively so as to internalize them – akin to the cow chewing the cud. So I did a little search to consider Jesus’ prayer life further.
From this article, I read, “Training in the Torah began very early. The father had an obligation to teach his children the Law by words and example. A child could observe his father binding the phylacteries on his arm and head. The natural question, “What are you doing?” could be used to teach the child that it was everyone’s duty to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5 ).
When the son reached the age of twelve, the Jews believed his education in the Torah was complete enough to help him know the Law and keep it. He was then known as a “son of the Law.” As a symbol of this attainment, the father would fasten the phylacteries upon the arm and forehead of his son. The box placed on the forehead indicated that the laws must be memorized. The other box was placed on the left arm so that it would press against the heart when the arms were folded or the hands were clasped in prayer. The box pressed against the heart would symbolize that the laws were to be loved and obeyed.
. . .
Boys usually began formal schooling at the “house of the book” at age five. He would spend at least a half-day, six days a week for about five years, studying at the synagogue. Parents brought their son at daybreak and came for him at midday. While not at school the boy was usually learning a trade, such as farming or carpentry.
If a boy wanted training beyond that given in a synagogue, he would go to a scholarly scribe. Saul of Tarsus received such advanced theological training “at the feet of Gamaliel” in Jerusalem (Acts 22:3 ).”
Do you remember when Jesus was 12 years old, and his parents accidentally left him behind? And when they found him, he said, “Didn’t you know that I’d be in my Father’s House?” According to the above article, He was then known, at the age of twelve, as “A Son of the Law” – so His question was simply a reflection of what should have been assumed by his parents.
Timothy Keller also quotes Eugene Peterson,
“Language is spoken into us; we learn language only as we are spoken to. We are plunged at birth into a sea of language …”
— I found myself mulling this over extensively! And as new believers, we are “plunged into” a new language. The more we engage with scripture, the more we will be in tune with God’s voice! [See Romans 12:2]
“We speak only to the degree we are spoken to.”
It is therefore essential to the practice of prayer to recognize what Peterson calls the “overwhelming previousness of God’s speech to our prayers”
[Working The Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity” Eugene Peterson]
Keller goes on to say,
“It means that our prayers should arise out of immersion in the Scripture. We should “plunge ourselves into the sea” of God’s language, the Bible. We should listen, study, think, reflect, and ponder the Scriptures until there is an answering response in our hearts and minds…”
Consider your own time in the scriptures, in prayer, and your own ability to discern God’s will each day. And then consider how important it is that we are having that intimate time with Jesus as we seek to follow Him in this time in HisStory.
Here are a few questions to think through on your own prayer life.
1. Do you have precious time scheduled into your day to read God’s word and talk to Him that keeps you fortified and heading in the right direction? Or do you need to make adjustments in your daily routine – perhaps getting up while it is still dark? Or going to a more solitary place? [Or like me, leaving my phone in another room?]
2. Have you ever considered what Jesus’ time was like when He went away with His Father and want to share your thoughts?
3. Are you in a consistent prayer time with other believers for your families, neighborhoods, cities, country and the world? Do you think we learn to discern God’s voice more by being with others who know Him?
4. Are you memorizing scripture? If not, how might you work that into your schedule?
In those days, memory was enhanced by reciting aloud, a practice still widely used in Middle Eastern education both Jewish and Muslim. Constant repetition was considered to be an essential element of learning.
In order to hear from God, we need to be near Him and be in His word. This is what John 15 means when Jesus tells us to abide.