Série de Prière: Communion

“God [is] Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24

What is it?

I’m not here to talk about the Eucharist, though that’s a good form of communion too. The word “communion” simply means sharing something in intimate fellowship/friendship. The kind of communion I am talking about is the internal relationship we have with the Holy Spirit.

Why do it? Well firstly, it is repeated over and over that Jesus communed with the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 10:21, John 1:33, etc.). I also find it interesting how much Jesus stressed abiding with the Spirit right before He went to the cross (read John 14-16).

In my own life, I find that the more I focus on communing with the Spirit on a moment-by-moment basis, the less I sin: I make better decisions because I follow His leading and I am generally more joyful as I remember God is walking with me throughout all my circumstances.

I have posted this quote before, but I believe it sums up communing with the Holy Spirit better than I ever could:

“There is a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once. On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship, and a gentle receptiveness to the divine breathings.” – Thomas Kelly

Practical Steps

Jesus said the Father would give the Holy Spirit to His children if we ask (Luke 11:13). I don’t have bullet-points for this type of prayer, just suggestions.

Try to develop an awareness of the Spirit within you all the time. You may have been consumed with the natural all day and then all of the sudden remember about Him — that’s great! Talk to Him internally when that happens. If you’re stressed out, thank Him for who He is (e.g. “Thank you Holy Spirit for your peace”).

As I’ve progressed in this, I find that I can have a normal conversation with someone and be consciously adoring the Lord and as I have to make small decisions, I ask Him what I should do. Sometimes He gives me specific direction, other times I know that that it is my choice.

Recommended Reading

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence is a small but insightful book on communing with the Lord throughout the day

Clowning in Rome by Henri Nouwen is an easy read on unceasing prayer, among other subjects

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This post is a part of a series on different types of prayer. Click here to read the rest of the series.

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Persistent Prayer

I want to continue the thought I started in my God of Secrets post about Luke 11. I don’t know how most people interpret the parable of the friend at midnight, but for me, it is one of the most significant passages in the Bible about prayer.

“And [Jesus] said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.” Luke 11:5-8

Now we have to backtrack a little. In verse 1, the disciples had asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Then we see the part we all know so well, the Lord’s prayer. But Jesus doesn’t take a breath between verses 4 and 5…He is still answering their question. (Please understand that the following is my interpretation/revelation on the chapter and is completely original.)

First of all you (the green guy) have a friend (the orange guy) who traveled from afar to visit you. You want to be hospitable and pour into him (i.e. give him food). So you think, “Hey! I have another friend who OWNS the bakery! He can give me bread for this friend!”

See, the friend didn’t ask anything of you (they represent whatever/whomever you are praying for), but you wanted to give what you knew you did not have (true humility – I am nothing outside of Christ). But, you know a guy (Jesus) who has what you need – and more.

So you go to your friend and knock on his door, even though it’s midnight. “Hey man, I’ve got this friend who needs food, can you give me some? ‘Cause I don’t have any.” And then your friend answers, “Don’t bother me, man! I can’t give you anything right now.”

When you pray, God always answers (“he will answer”). But what if His answer surprises you? See, you knew to go to Him, you knew He had what you needed, but even though you are His friend (you have some relationship with Him), He’s asking for something more from you:

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture…I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”   John 10:9,14

Jesus is asking you to come to a new level: yes, you are His friend, but when you don’t understand why He won’t give to you, will you take that as an invitation to ask again? It’s not favoritism for those who persist more: it’s the nature of God’s kingdom. It’s the same reason why Jesus spoke in parables – so that only the hungry would seek out what they meant. Jesus is the door and He wants you to persist, to keep knocking to find what you are looking for. See, once you’re in the door, you have access to fellowship with Him, to the knowledge of God.

It is because of your persistence that Jesus will give to you: and that’s always more than you asked Him for initially. Now, knowing the context, the following verse should make a lot of sense:

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you: seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”   Luke 11:9

Note: I hope you don’t feel demeaned by my childish illustrations. I wanted to make this rather confusing parable as clear as possible. And feel free to give me kudos for my amazing drawing skills too – especially my camel. (Yeah, I’m joking.)

The God of Secrets

I just read this fascinating article published by the New York Times back in June called “Mystery on Fifth Avenue”. It got me thinking. As humans, we love mysteries. I don’t think this is a character trait or quirk; I think we all love solving puzzles, riddles, enigmas – whatever you want to call them – in some form.

But why? I guess I ask that question a lot…It’s not that I love to find out how things work, I just like to know about human nature. My conclusion to the question “Why do we love mysteries?” is this: God loves mysteries. OK, that was really anti-climactic. But it’s true!

It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. Prov. 25:2 (ESV)

The New Testament speaks 27 times of God’s mysteries. I think that He hides on purpose. That way, only those who are hungry will look hard enough to find Him. And when I say the hungry, I don’t mean the unsaved: I mean Christians who are looking for more of God.

Now the question I have to ask myself is “Do I want to take the time to search out God and His mysteries?” It’s so much easier just to spout off what I know about Him and never go and actually get to know Him. But I think only those who are really persistent get the reward: the knowledge of God. It’s not as if when Jesus tells the story of the friend at midnight (Luke 11), the friend only had to ask him for bread once: it was only by his persistence that he received what he asked for.

This is how I want to live the rest of my Christianity: continually seeking out God and His mysteries until He answers me.