Prayer is my only safe place.
Not so long ago I had a huge misunderstanding that created a rift in my relationship with someone I love very much. I assumed I understood how this person was feeling, and unfortunately I took measures that wounded my friend’s heart. There was misunderstanding, pain and a breakdown in our relationship. To my greatest dismay, the door for discussion and reparation slammed shut. Have you been there before? You want to love and bless someone, but the actions you take hurt and hurt them instead?
Not only had I wounded this one, but now my heart was hurt too. I had no peace and there was no solution or reconciliation to be found. I could only pray. I went to bed in mourning and poured out my heart to Jesus, and I still woke up talking to him. This ongoing conversation continued day after day and week after week. My heart broke at the prospect of losing touch with this relationship. All of my day’s activities were underpinned by this one constant conversation with Jesus. My furtive plea went something like this: “Jesus, please break in, move on this person’s heart. Show me how to knock on that closed door. What can I do to change that? “His answer was roughly,” Diane, trust me. ” My answer back: “I’m trying, sir.”
It didn’t matter what I did every day. I could work from home, or do chores, or drive to and from appointments. I could have coffee with a friend or go for a walk. In all my comings and goings, this conversation continued in the background. It is this conversation that has enabled me to endure the pain of relationship breakdown. When I think back, I am deeply convinced that my conversation with Jesus brought our wounded relationship to a turning point and then moved into the light where conversation, forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation broke out.
In hindsight, I see that I loved myself as much as the one I hurt while I was talking to Jesus. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5: 15-18:
Always pursue what is good for you and for everyone. Always rejoice, pray incessantly, thank you in everything; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
There is nothing like pain or crisis to motivate me to pray incessantly. My most fervent periods of constant prayer come when I have been subjected to long-term difficulties or pressures. The pressure that squashes and doesn’t let go can only be born through prayer. I see through the Psalms that David endured the soul-destroying circumstances of his life by staying in dialogue. The biblical template seems to be: pour out your complaint and keep in dialogue with the Lord. It is the dialogue that reminds me of who God is and how we (God and I) love each other. It is this memory that renews my hope and courage in spite of my circumstances.
And then there is still Jesus himself. He modeled always rejoicing, praying without ceasing and giving thanks in everything. Dialogue anchored him in the present moment and strengthened him for tomorrow. Through ceaseless prayer he could be the obedient Son who went to the cross and the tomb.
But is difficulty the only thing that can motivate us to keep talking to Jesus? Is it possible that the person of Jesus is enough to catch us and keep our attention in an ongoing conversation? King David proclaims in Psalm 34: 8: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who trusts in him.” Paul proclaims in Ephesians 3 that it is this great love of Christ that strengthens us and fill our hearts with faith. It seems that for both King David and the Apostle Paul their attention was held and captured by the great God. Praise the Lord that it is being recorded of David’s and Paul’s journey of friendship and dialogue with God for our good. Aren’t we on the same journey? Isn’t our quest the same?
Our cry is: “Open the eyes of our hearts as you did for David, as you did for Paul. Verily, you are the same God today and you love us as much as you loved these men. How can we see what you saw if you don’t help us! “We can conclude that he wants to help us and that we can position our hearts so that he is supported by him through constant dialogue. It is the constant conversation that reveals to us his personality, wisdom, and beauty as revealed to David and Paul. This is our life and our joy in knowing him and understanding his personality and the way he thinks and feels.
And it is his thoughts and feelings that shape our own. We find our true selves when we know who Jesus is. As John Calvin said, “Knowing yourself begins with knowing God.” One great way we can know God is through His Word. Why is his word so important? God’s word is his bond, and that means he always speaks what is true. Because of this reality, we can rely on everything he says. We never have to fear that God will have a bad day or change His mind about something He has already told us through His Word. His word is always true. That’s why we like to talk to him. Because he is always the same, he never changes or speaks untruths. This is why we can anchor our trust in Him because He and His Word are one and the same.
Andrew Murray said, “When the spiritual life is sane under the full power of the spirit, it will be natural to pray incessantly.” To know God through his word, to keep him to his word and to align ourselves with his word is what develops a healthy and lively spiritual life. Conversations can be strained and painful when we talk to one another against the backdrop of our own brokenness. But who doesn’t want to be in constant conversation with a God whose word is His bond? We all want to talk to this God, this One who is all truth and all love and who never changes. Jesus is the one who knows us best and loves us most, even more than we know or love ourselves. Who are we that God is after our hearts? Who are we that if we pray ceaselessly, he will allow us to own his heart?
What motivates you to want to pray incessantly?
Would you like to learn more about God’s love and the desire to have a deeper relationship with you? We recommend Loved: When the person who knows you best loves you the most, by IHOPKC author Daniel Hoogteijling. Be liberated, stop striving and live courageously – energized and satisfied in his love and ready to preach the joyful gospel. Get yours from our Forerunner Bookstore today.
- Businesswoman & IHOPKC director
In 2001, Diane founded and remains the general manager of a real estate company. At IHOPKC she serves in the healing rooms and evangelistic outreaches, monitors aspects of pastoral care and leads regular prayer meetings. She also speaks at conferences across the country. Diane has been married to Mike for 40 years and says: “Over the years our love, friendship and partnership, as well as our deep respect for one another, have grown. We have fun together. “They have two amazing grown sons, two beautiful daughters-in-law, and five stunning grandchildren who” stole Diane’s heart. “