By now you should have a good start on establishing, improving or maintaining your prayer life. Remember that this is probably the most critical part of your devotional life, the others being the Bible itself, and 1 or more study helps to increase your understanding. Remember also that prayers should not be limited to your daily devotions any more than they should be limited to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Like anything else, your communication with God will become more & more natural and effective through practice – doing it often. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 says “pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
We have looked at these 3 ‘components’ of your devotions separately, spending a lot of time on prayer. Today I’d like us to start tying them together. Each part of our relationship with God is intertwined with the others, just as is any really deep relationship you might have with another person. In fact, when someone you are close to (i.e. your spouse) blocks you from a part of their lives, it hurts, doesn’t it? Even worse, it usually creates suspicion and distrust.
This is because as Christians, we are in what the Bible calls a ‘covenant’ relationship with Jesus, with God. This is the most significant, most committed partnership one person can have with another. The closest thing we have to that today is marriage, which is why it is often called that – the ‘covenant’ of marriage. However, in modern society very few of us actually treat it that way. If we did, divorce would be the rare exception rather than the norm, at least among Christians. So the point is, God must be included in every part of your life. In John 15:4 Jesus said “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” ‘Remain’ means to stay in constant, committed, deep relationship.
For His part, He has promised us that He would be with us at all times (if we choose to honor this covenant He offers us), and has provided His Holy Spirit for us for exactly that purpose. One chapter earlier Jesus said this: “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him,because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:15-17.
Pay attention to the ‘little’ things. Notice the word ‘if’ at the beginning of those verses. IF we want God to be there for us, we must accept and keep our part of the bargain – the covenant. We can choose not to enter into that agreement. IF we do that, there is no reason to expect God’s blessing and protection when we need it. Yes, we are free to choose one or the other. We are not free to modify the covenant, or only accept the parts we like. It’s pretty much an ‘all-or-nothing’ kind of deal.
Pray today that God would draw close to you, that He would speak to your heart about that covenant, reassure and enable you to enter into that kind of relationship with Him. If you already are, maybe now is a good time to examine yourself and recommit. Don’t forget to Thank Him for this incredible opportunity.