By: Rob Peralta
It has been said "The less we sin, the more we win". That is a simple yet profound truth. And one of the "big" wins is in our prayer life. We have closer communication with our Lord which brings us to a higher level in our Christian walk. Many today are wondering "Why do I feel when I pray, that the Lord just isn't listening and I'm talking to myself?" In (Isaiah 59:2) we read " your sins have seperated you from God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear." So many times we are walking in many errors before the Lord and therefore, our prayers are given up to Him in our compromising position. Hence the the prior quote comes into truth before the Lord.
From my own experience, I can really feel a bond or closeness in prayer to him, when I am living a more upright life. On the contrary , when I have messed up and did wrong according to my conscience, I have felt very little connection in prayer. But the great thing in our walk is to be able to actually feel and KNOW our Lord is listening from on high! I mean your soul actually grows and glows when we know he is listening to us. The bible says the "prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16).
Many of you have seen the front picture of "The story of redemption" by Ellen White. It shows Jesus in prayer talking to God the Father. To me that picture, like they say, tells a thousand words. One of the primary things I've noticed is that Jesus is kneeling BUT His face is to the heavens. This to me should be our practice in prayer. When you pray, you don't have to tuck your chin into your chest and mumble almost silently. Rise up your face! Speak to him directly as if He is standing right in front of you. How many would like for their friends or family to walk up and start a conversation, chin tucked down, mumbling softly? Jesus should be our example in all things, even prayer. This is not to say that the other method of kneeling and prayer is bad, but to suggest something more uplifting for you.
As we all know, communication is best when it is shared and not just a "one-way" street. In prayer it is JUST AS IMPORTANT to LISTEN as to speak. How many actually kneel and listen instead of talking and talking? If we are walking upright with our Lord, his small still voice can be heard through the Holy Spirit. You're at his command, silent and ready for His ideas and thoughts to come into you. THEN you can talk back to Him based on what He has "occured" to you. I like to call Him the "Great God of occurrence" because often, thoughts that just happens to "occur" may indeed be sent from Him(Like my being told a dream was coming). Again I cannot stress the supreme importance of walking righteously before Him, not "perfectly"(although we should always strive for this) but righteously according to His Commandments. In (Proverbs 28:9) we read "If ANYONE ( and that means Jews, Gentiles or even "Born again Christians") turns his ear from hearing of the Law, even his prayers are an abomination". Wow, pretty powerful words from our Lord!
Finally, I would like to add some personal thoughts. In prayer Jesus referred to His Father as "Abba". Which was considered a very affectionate term for Father. In prayer I call our Lord "Pops" and I really feel close to Him when I call Him this. But keep in mind if you do call Him an affectionate name, DON'T use that same name for ANYONE else! Also it is better to use "less" words in prayer than "many" words. Jesus said "let your no be no, and your yes be yes"(Matt 5:37). I amazed sometimes when I hear a pastor on TV or somewhere, go on and on in prayer, rarely even remembering their prayer a couple days later.
May you discover one of the greatest experiences we have, and that is in PRAYER! May your prayers be clearer and heard by our most gracious and loving Lord.