'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
Prayer is often viewed as a part or segment of time in our lives - hence the expression "prayer life", as though prayer is only a compartment of our many-sided existence. It can become only an event rather than a relationship. A close look at Jesus' life reveals a living Prayer. Yes, there were many time He entered His "closet", for private one on one communion with His Father just He commanded us to do. But His prayer, His closeness to His Father never grew dim and distant. Unlike us, no matter where He went, He was never far away from God the Father. The Father always heard Him - anywhere, anytime (John 11:41-42). We are never alone, we are just not conscious of it.
If Someone is always with us, why not acknowledge the Other, even converse with Him, share the moment with Him. When we have a companion at our side, we do not wait until we can be completely private to talk to him or her. We converse silently in our minds, or we talk out loud. Either way, our Father always hears (“talk to the Man upstairs, He wants to hear from you!”). There is only one condition in which He will not hear us (that is, hear in the sense of being responsive), and that is if we have deliberately refused to confess sin. He hears our words, but He refuses to hear from His heart because He knows our hearts (Psalm 32:3-5).
He is ever, and always with us; when we rise each morning, lie down, drive, walk; whether alone or in a crowd - every second, whether we are aware or unaware. He will NEVER leave us! We are not alone, just because we do not understand that we are not alone. When we become one with Christ we are so close to Him that life and prayer are also one. All of our life is a prayer because prayer is our life. Are you conscious of Jesus ... this very moment?
In Matthew 6:9-13 is what has been called the model prayer or the ideal outline, or pattern within which we should pray. Jesus her gives the shape of prayer and life. You will notice that from the beginning to the end of this model it encapsulates all of life. Not only does it picture "prayer life", it pictures life prayer. Prayer has been portrayed as a compartment of our multi-sided life, which when filled, there is no need to think about it until the time roles around again. Some of the feelings about prayer in this way come from a misunderstanding of Jesus' instruction about going into our closet, praying in secret, so that He may reward us. He spoke this in comparison to the self-righteous Pharisees who made a vain show about prayer. Jesus never intended for us to pray only in a closet behind closed doors, within a measured time span of compartmentalized living. Mostly He was showing what our attitude about making a vain show, a big production of self exaltation, should be. But Matthew 6:9-13 gives us the shape of prayer as it should be.
As our thoughts are brought into captivity to Jesus, part of those thoughts should be prayer-thoughts for others. Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies as well as ouir loved ones and friends. Jesus commanded us to love our enemies. The more we pray for someone - even our enemy - the more we will come to love them. This is the reason Jesus said to love our enemies - it increases our love. Not only for the enemies, but for all. If we will sincerely and fervent pray for anyone, we will find one day that we have come love them deeply.
To pray should come as natural as living, as automatic as breathing. In the NT the word for prayer often includes the meaning of worship. Our lives should be a liturgy of worship of the God who is always with us and in us. Surely Jesus must have talked to His Father in His mind and spirit almost constantly. He needed this in order not to ever sin, to be a perfect sacrifice for us. There were special times of "closet" prayer when He chose the Apostles, when He went into the wilderness to do battle with and overcome Satan. But His life was a lifetime and a life line of constant prayerfulness. It had to be. It should be for us.
Jesus is our example in everything in life. We should talk to Jesus and the Father day and night, silently, or verbally, about everything. Converse with Him. He is our King, Savior. But He is also our Brother, and our Friend. If we will let He will also be our constant companion every second of our existence. The writers of the Psalms spoke of praying night and day. How many times when we cannot sleep do we just pray - just silently from our heart direct to the heart of God about any and everything that has happend that day in our lives. God is our Companion who we respect, worship, love with every breath we take. A humble, loving word of thanks for a cloud decorated sky, or a full moon graced night, to the Maker and Sustainer of all these things (Isaiah 66:1-2). The One who is living in you - literally. A sincere thank you to Him for just keeping you alive moment by moment. We should become very close to the One who holds our breath in His hands. Life and this kind prayer then becomes life and companionship, worship, adoration and oneness with Jesus our Lord. God is a Companion and Confidant to us, to wonderful for words to express - but He knows our hearts before our words (Psalm 139:4).
This is Prayer. This is Life. Life in this way can now become one long, continuous Prayer. There is no longer prayer in our life. Prayer has become our life, and our life is prayer. Now Jesus' prayer will have been answered. We will have become with Him and our Father, that which He always was with Our Father, and longs for us to be (John 17:20-21,23,26).
All this being said, how can this possibly be accomplished...?
It can't - unless and until we have given up life as being our possession. We must have given it back to Christ. After all, He was the Author and Beginner of our life (Hebrews 12:20). When this occurs, we allow Him to complete it (Hebrews 5:9).
Eternal life is only a prayer away...
"...behold, I am with you all the days, perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion, to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Amen (so let it be)." - Matthew 28:20 (AmpBible)
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