"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—" John 10:14 NIV
I’d like to ask you two questions for your consideration.
What is it like when you spend time with your heavenly Father?
What is it like to talk with Him?
Please take a moment and try to describe these experiences.
What I’m alluding to here is the topic of prayer. I think most people get hung up on this hyper-used word, “prayer.” We over-spiritualize it. You see, God knows we are mere man, yet we try to impress Him somehow with “good” praying. And then, we get distracted and give up until the next time we “try.” In doing this, we’ve missed the whole point of what prayer is meant to be!
Prayer is simply how we connect with God. It’s how we relate to Him. And just how does God want us to come to Him in prayer? Well, His greatest desire is to have our total heart, mind, and strength as we read in Deuteronomy 6:5, right?
To begin with, He wants us to enjoy Him—to focus on Him and not your “prayer.”
We should always come to Him just as we are, giving our desperate, unworthy, yet wholly loved selves to our all-powerful, all-sustaining glorious, yet fully compassionate Father. And when we do, we find the overflowing cup of His strength, restoration, wisdom, peace, righteousness, and joy. In His presence is the abundant life. He is the Living Water and the Bread of Life.
When we pray, we should not only talk but also listen. Seek to hear and follow His good paths. Come rejoicing, come playful, come weary, come doubting or afraid. Come to Him in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death. Draw in close and listen to His comforting words of life and hope.
And so, we should come to Him continually—in the humdrum and in every other possible situation. As we do, we begin to know our Shepherd. I mean truly know Him.
To me, my quiet prayer time feels like sitting and sipping hot tea with my closest of friends. It’s wonderful. Good stuff, right? As Paul E. Miller teaches in his book A Praying Life, “You can’t get to know God on the fly. You don’t create intimacy; you make room for it.”
I pray these past seven days have deepened your understanding of what it means to listen to God. It’s not as complicated as we often imagine it is. It’s as simple as unstopping our ears to lies, opening our hearts, getting quiet, and letting our good Shepherd communicate.
I pray you have a deeper understanding that listening to God is, always, about getting to know our good Shepherd.
Tell the Father: Today, I’m going to seek You with all my heart, soul, and strength. I will begin now, with the real me, coming before the real You. I want to know and listen to You more and more each day.
Today’s worship song recommendation: “Touch the Sky” by Hillsong United