Have you ever attended an event or a social gathering without technically being invited? Even when it may have been Invitation Only? Maybe you just went along with a friend or spouse and you thought, “No big deal… I can just blend in.” I know I have! …and maybe it was just me but all I can say is…awkward!
After the initial awkwardness and maybe even some questioning stares upon your entrance, you finally get a little more comfortable…or maybe not… as you engage in the event. But it certainly isn’t as comfortable and warm as it is when you have actually been invited, right?
Well I am here to tell you that…you have been invited! Invited to what you may ask?…You have been invited by God to intimacy with Him. Did you know that?
God desires to be intimate with you so much that He actually invites you! And He encourages this intimacy through prayer which gives us the open door to communicate with Him. Communication is an integral part of intimacy in any relationship…even in our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
One of my favorite scriptures found in Jeremiah is…
Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3 NASB
Wow! Did you catch that? That not only is God asking you to call upon Him and that He will answer you…but that He “will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know!”
One commentary explains that the “great and mighty things” are “fortified ones” meaning they are like fortified cities, that cannot easily be come at, unless the gates are opened to enter into; and designs such as are difficult of understanding, which exceed human belief, and which reason cannot comprehend and take in; and such are the great things of the Gospel. Gill’s Exposition
And another commentary states that “mighty things” are rather, secret things (literally, inaccessible.) Pulpit Commentary
When God invites us to pray to Him so that He can answer us and tell us…things that are not easy to come by…things that are difficult to understand and exceed human belief…things that are secret or inaccessible…He clearly demonstrates His desire to be intimate with us!
Don’t you share intimate, private, “secret” things with those you are very close in relationship with?
And doesn’t it make it less awkward and more comfortable knowing that God actually invites you to intimacy through prayer? …Like when you know you have been invited while walking into a social event.
In my personal experiences, I have come across many women who tell me they have a difficult time praying. And for those of us who don’t really struggle with this…we can easily take prayer for granted and think everyone is comfortable doing it.
For those who aren’t comfortable praying…Praying to God is just talking to God! You don’t need to try and impress Him…or anyone else for that matter…with eloquent and lavished words. Just talk to Him as you would a friend!
When we pray, we allow Jesus into our hearts. It isn’t our prayer that moves Him…it is Jesus who moves us to pray. He’s the one who invites us! He’s the one who knocks!
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20 NIV
And did you know that our prayers please Him?
Many times my prayers to God are for my needs, the needs of others, or to show me how I can please Him. But God receives pleasure from our wanting to communicate with Him and be with Him.
We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible’s idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself. Oswald Chambers from “My Utmost for His Highest”
And what’s so cool to me is that our prayers are actually a sweet-swelling aroma to his ears! In the Bible, the Book of Revelation describes “gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” Revelation 5:8 NIV
4The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out. Revelation 8:4 NLT
An incense burner filled with live coals was used in temple worship. Incense was poured on the coals, and the sweet smelling smoke drifted upwards, symbolizing believers’ prayers ascending to God.
The following description really paints an interesting picture of the resemblance between incense and our prayers.
That in general by incense, prayer is signified, the Scripture expressly testifieth. And there is a fourfold resemblance between them:
- In that it was beaten and pounded before it was used. So doth acceptable prayer proceed from a broken and contrite heart: Psalms 51:17 .
- It was of no use until fire was put under it, and that taken from the altar. Nor is that prayer of any virtue or efficacy which is no kindled by the fire from above, the Holy Spirit of God, which we have from our altar, Christ Jesus.
- It naturally ascended upwards towards heaven, as all offerings in the Hebrew are called “ascensions”, uprisings. And this is the design of prayer, to ascend unto the throne of God: “I will direct unto thee, and will look up”; that is, pray: Psalms 5:3.
- It yielded a sweet savour; which was one end of it in temple services, wherein there was so much burning of flesh and blood. So doth prayer yield a sweet savour unto God; a savour of rest, wherein he is well pleased. –John Owen.
Has your attitude toward prayer changed as you reflect upon God’s invitation and His desire to be intimate with you? And the fact that your prayers are a sweet smelling aroma that truly please Him?
Knowing that God is committed to answering when I call with great and mighty things…unsearchable revelations…truly fills me with awe and humility.
Understanding that I have been invited and that I don’t need to pray with eloquent words really encourages me to just talk to God…and not feel awkward.
Choosing to answer his request for intimacy with me helps me to view my prayers as an opportunity to receive from Him and to “yield a sweet savour unto God.”
1) Do you feel intimidated or uncomfortable praying to God?
2) Did you know that God invites you to pray to Him and desires intimacy with you?
3) Does knowing you have been invited by God make you feel less awkward to pray to Him?
4) Have you accepted this opportunity to intimacy with God through your prayers?
5) Do you realize that your prayers truly please him and that they are a sweet smelling aroma to His ears?
1) Realize that God wants an intimate relationship with you and that is why He invites you to pray.
2) Understand that praying to God is just talking to Him. The more you pray the more comfortable you will be. I always suggest begin praying out loud when you are alone so you can hear yourself. The more you pray out loud the more comfortable you will be. That way if you have an opportunity to pray with someone you will feel more confident in praying with them.
3) Praying to God pleases Him! God receives pleasure from our wanting to communicate with Him and be with Him. Your prayers are a sweet smelling aroma to His ears!