How do we communicate with God?
Today’s reading: John 17
This week, we are going to discover what a relationship with God looks like. The primary way we find a fulfilling relationship with God is simply communicating with Him through prayer.
Take a moment to think about the relationships that are meaningful to you. Maybe it’s your family – your spouse, your kids, your parents, your siblings. Maybe you’d include your friends or coworkers. Whomever you put on that list, think about if you walked into a room they were in, but you never spoke to them. Eventually, that lack of communication would lead to a strained relationship or one that is not healthy. We can think of our relationship with God the same way. If we never take the time to talk to him, share our life with him, or spend time getting to know how to make our relationship healthy, we fail to experience the fullness of a relationship with God.
During the time Jesus walked the earth, the Jewish people went to the temple in order to offer sacrifices to atone for their sin. Within the temple was a place called the Holy of Holies. This was where God’s presence resided. However, there was no direct access for people to be in God’s presence. Only the priests were allowed in that space and only under very specific conditions. The Holy of Holies was marked by a veil – or cloth – that was 60 feet long, 30 feet high, and 4 inches thick separating worshipers from God’s presence. In many ways, this was a visual representation of the separation sin caused between humanity and God.
The moment Jesus took his last breath on the cross, the 4-inch thick veil that literally separated God’s presence from his people ripped from top to bottom (Mathew 27:51), representing what he had accomplished. No more separation, no chasm between us. Jesus’ death paid the ultimate price. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead, conquering death and providing salvation and deliverance from our sin, once and for all destroying this separation between God and his people.
This is so profound because it changed the way we are able to be in communion with God. Because this happened, we now have direct access to God. We don’t need a priest to offer a sacrifice on our behalf or travel to the temple to pray. We can talk to God anytime and any place about anything.
If you need some help getting started with developing a life of prayer, we’re going to talk about really practical ways to do that this week. A good first step is to carve out some time alone with God, quiet your mind, and follow this popular model of prayer: Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield [PRAY].
Praise – Thank God for what He’s done in your life. Gratitude and praise are the highest forms of prayer, and it will help center yourself on God’s goodness. Gratitude is also scientifically proven to improve your mental health and overall outlook on life.
Repent – Ask God for his forgiveness of your sins. If you can’t think of anything to repent from, ask God to reveal how you may have hurt his heart this week. Again, we are not perfect and all fall short, so there will always be something to repent of and learn from.
Ask – Ask God for the things you need or want. Pray on behalf of others in your life, and ask the Lord to intervene in mighty ways.
Yield – Submit yourself to God’s will knowing that he is good and has your best interests in mind. When we take time to listen, he will speak to us and let us know the best course of action for our circumstances.
The cool thing about this prayer model is that we see Jesus use this method as he taught his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13:
PRAISE: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
YIELD: your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
ASK: Give us today our daily bread.
REPENT: And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
ASK: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Whether or not you use this model, the best prayers we can pray are honest prayers. We don’t have to shy away from God. We just have to start talking so our relationship with him can grow.
How can you start to incorporate prayer into your day this week?
How has your view of God changed knowing that we have direct access to him?
If you already pray consistently, have you ever noticed what a day feels like if you aren’t praying consistently?
ACTION STEP: Write down one answer for each letter of PRAY, and take time to listen for God to answer.