Posted by: mikenicholsblog | October 15, 2009

relationship before request

Psalm 42:1
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.

Psalm 46:10
Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

Another weekly journey is winding down. You have had some laughs, some irritations, some “life would be great without people” moments, and hopefully some meaningful time with the Father. Time with the Father means different things to different people. For some it may be prayer while driving (eyes open please).  Others may have a few moments of quiet time early each day.   And still others may have that set Bible reading time each day that is organized, and rarely missed. Experience has taught me that most build their relationship (with the Father) into the week, and not the week around the relationship. Great verses such as the ones above talk about seeking the Father, and being still, but thirsting and stillness aren’t what I see as the norm for most Christ followers.

Reading this post won’t change your life, but it may help refocus your relational mindset. We all struggle with the concept of getting things from God as opposed to getting God (relationship). Browsing through a Christian bookstore led to my reading an insightful book by Larry Crabb. The book, “The PAPA PRAYER: The Prayer you’ve never prayed”, focuses on relationship as the first thing in our prayer life. In your busy world, building relational prayer time may seem to be an “out of reach” objective. Could it be that the reason we don’t sense much panting for the Father, and a still heart is because our time with the Father is too one sided? Dr. Crabb used the illustration of the red dot in his book, referring to the place you are currently. It would be fair to say that many sincere followers of Christ are at the place of great spiritual intentions (red dot), but not satisfied with their progress.

As the journey draws to a close this week, be honest enough with yourself to examine your red dot. Are you getting to know the Father in your quiet time, or is a bit of recalibration needed? If you are like me, you have to consciously work at praying without just petitioning. Could I gently persuade you for one week to try relating with the Father first, and then letting requests flow from that point? Try these steps as you begin:

  • Commit time to relational praying. If you struggle with this, simply start by praying a Psalm back to the Father.
  • Realize that you will, at times, fail in the relationship part, but keep going. Start your prayer time by telling the Father exactly how you feel. Isn’t that what a relationship is about?
  • Begin to let part of your prayer be listening time.

Remember relationship before request, and begin where you are. Too many have detoured in the spiritual journey, and are missing a real “best friend” relationship. The Father is waiting!

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