“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy (rejoice) in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:10-11)
“Lord, please bless my friend” …
“Lord, please take care of my children” …
“Lord, please heal my hurting heart” …
“Lord, please help me with my finances” …
“Jesus, I need You right now” …..
If I could stack up my prayer requests, I’m sure they’d reach the sky. I’ve been bringing them to God for a long time, sometimes whispered in a time of crisis, and other times as I settle in the morning for my quiet time. I love that God is receptive to each request and hears every single one, whether whispered in quiet supplication, or uttered with only groaning in my heart and silent tears ….
However, a while back, I started praying a little differently. I started talking to God as if He were truly a friend, someone who wasn’t just the recipient of my requests, but a dear friend where the conversation was mutual. This idea might seem strange to some, but it’s very biblical ….
In (Romans 5), Paul reminds us that Jesus came to earth as a result of God’s love for us. It was God’s desire that the cross and resurrection forever break down walls that sin had erected. Paul doesn’t stop there, however. He joyfully shares that this reconciliation brought us into a wonderful new relationship with God ~that of a true friend ….
This concept of God as a friend doesn’t diminish His sovereignty or the fact that He is all mighty and all powerful. Rather it reveals His desire not only to know us, but to be known ….
I would never come to a friend with only requests of needs or only praise of their virtues. I would tune in to that person’s heart; and the sharing would be mutual. That’s what led me to pray in a different way. I began my conversations every morning asking one simple question: My Lord, is there anything that I can do that would bring You joy today? Reveal it to me ….
That simple question led to answers, some of them surprising. One day I was rocking with my little dog as I studied the Word, and something I read made me feel so warm and content, and so I sang a silly little song to him and he snuggled in close. I heard, “This brings me joy” ….
Those words came from deep within. A confirmation that God was delighted by what I was doing ….
He saw something I didn’t. Perhaps it was the fact that my little dog was snuggled in next to me and that moment was building security in my heart. I’ll never know for sure, but it brought God joy and that was enough for me. And then I had joy just knowing that my Savior was pleased with me ….
On another day, a friend messaged me. She was having a bad day. I didn’t have a lot of time, but I felt that gentle tug so I messaged her and we chatted for no more than 15 minutes. I ended our conversation with the words, “I love you big time and I’m going to pray for you.” Then I knelt and prayed before going on with my scheduled tasks for the day ….
There it was again. That inner knowing ~
“This brings me joy” ….
I had assumed it was the bigger things that brought God joy. You know, like telling someone about Jesus or changing the world. Certainly, these are beautiful in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, but these small moments matter to God, too. And that thought was monumental in changing how I pray, and the quality of the time I spend with my Lord ….
As we begin our everyday conversations with God asking, “what might I do to bring You joy today Lord?” our spiritual ears start to open. We might discover that some of the smallest events of our day are actually miracles, as we partner with God to love people. And there is an old saying that I once heard that always stuck with me;
“there is no such thing as coincidences. In reality, coincidences are actually small miracles performed by God that usually go unnoticed” ….
Coming to God as a friend as well as our heavenly Father draws us into the wonderful relationship Paul talked about in (Romans 5).
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:13-15)
Maybe today is a great day to flip our prayer lives in a whole new direction…. “What can we do to bring You joy today, Lord”… Or, “Who can I bless?” We just might be surprised at the answer ….
Sometimes what brings God joy may be buried in the heart of our request. Our prayer might be, “Lord, fix my friend’s hurting heart.” As we reach out to her with a note or words of encouragement, our response might be exactly what delights the heart of God, and in that, heals our own …..
Let’s pray ~
Heavenly Father, what can we do as a people, as Your body, as Your sons and daughters, to bring You joy today? Not to earn points with You, but to simply talk with You awhile; to hear Your heart, as well as to share mine. I know my joy in You is wherein my strength is found, therefore, reveal to my spirit by the power of the Holy Ghost how I may honor You the most, and what I may do bring You joy today. In Jesus name I pray, Amen…