God is always close-up, but it can sometimes feel like we’re praying from a distance.
True, it’s not about how we feel; it’s about faith. But that doesn’t mean we have to settle for prayer as a remote faith routine. Prayer is close-up conversation, enjoyable for us and the Lord. So, how does it become less distant, more intimate?
Intimacy is a choice by two. The Lord chose to be close-up, but unless we do the same, praying at a distance can become our norm. He took the initiative; he became our Immanuel and freed us to enjoy him face-to-face. So we have no reason to get used to less.
Close-up prayer is at the core of enjoying the Lord’s company (see previous post, Close-up enjoyment of God). The sense of ‘distance’ in prayer can have various causes, but most (if not all) can be overcome through a love for his voice.
Prayer isn’t about us championing our thoughts, but agreeing with his. Close-up conversation works best with him as the lead Speaker. His Word carries his thoughts and desires to our hearts to remove distance (Is 55:10, 11) and deepen intimacy (John 15:7). What he says about himself, us, others or issues becomes the nucleus of our close-up conversation with him…. whether in admiration, asking or any other type of prayer.
By design, love for his voice is key to prayer intimacy.
Some extracts from a chapter in my book, Shaped for Prayer Enjoyment:
We are rescued for a life of conversation with God: a conversation in which he leads and we learn responses.
It’s possible to spend an hour reading the Bible without actually hearing what the Speaker is saying. But when we read it as pray-ers, we become more intentional about listening for his voice. We read in order to hear him, and hear in order to respond.
He speaks to re-configure our hearts and minds so that we can come into agreement with him. He is the constant First Speaker; the pray-er is the responding speaker. No matter what the type or topic of our prayer, the Speaker has already thought of it and has something relevant to say. The Spirit of the Speaker is present to help us make the connection between what he says and what we pray.
He tells us of himself, his nature, ways and plans. He talks to us about global activities as easily as he does about our daily routines and choices. But he hasn’t come for one-sided conversation. He says things to trigger responses, to draw us into the enjoyable talk of people in love: not just prayer as a scheduled liturgy or an occasional interruption to life’s busyness, but as a constant communion woven into both the racing and resting rhythms of the day.
Write your own psalm of love for God’s Word. In a few lines, tell the Lord:
- How much you value his words.
- Of your growing love for him, the Speaker.
- About your desire for his Word to be the artery feeding a life of close-up conversation with him.
If you have read the book and found it helpful, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org