This question is asking more than it seems. Let’s unpack it together.
So much happens in prayer. We present our requests to the Lord (Phil. 4:6-7). We cast our anxieties upon Him (1 Pet. 5:7). We boldly ask for healing, forgiveness, etc. (James 5:15-17). We praise God for who He is, and what He’s done (Psalm 103 | 139). We intercede for others (Eph. 6:18). We go to battle, with praise and petition, and the Lord on our side, when we pray.
But above and before everything listed above, in its simplest form, prayer is communication with the Creator; the Lover of our souls. All of what’s listed (and more) are things we communicate, yes, but for today I want us to think/talk about prayer as a means of intimate communication.
Why do we communicate? To grow in a relationship; to get to know someone.
/rəˈlāSH(ə)nˌSHip/ the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.
Relationships are about forming a connection. It’s about knowing them, and letting them know you. Communication is the means by which we accomplish that. It’s a two-way street - we share with them, they share with us. The more sharing there is, the closer the relationship tends to be, which is the goal. To pursue communication with someone for nothing more than getting something from them is manipulation, not relationship.
The more we communicate with someone, the more natural it becomes; the more we want to communicate - share - with them. When I think about how I communicate with my closest friends, I promise they know more about my day-to-day than they ever wanted to! I don’t even think about it. Something happens, big or small, and they hear from me. I mean, I have quite literally text my friend about the time I went to bed the night before on the same day we spoke about one of my biggest, most challenging life decisions. But that’s something we’re all after, I think. Relationships that remind us someone has the desire to know us for all we are, and all we aren’t.
This kind of communication, this kind of relationship, is something we see best in the Psalms. The entire book (longest book in the Bible by the way!) is a conversation between David and the Lord. There is nothing David does not talk to God about. He’s feeling victorious - he’s talking to God about it. He’s learning - he’s talking to God about it. He’s depressed, praying for rescue - he’s talking to God about it. He’s struggling with hate against his enemies - he’s talking to God about it. He’s broken over the fact that he just had a man killed in battle because he got his wife pregnant - still talking to God about it. It is the most beautiful display of intimate communication and relationship with the Lord!
Praying eloquent prayers that praise Him is wonderful and deserved, but He is well aware of the struggle you’re trying to bury in your heart. Just lay it before Him. Let Him know you in that way, meet you in it, communicate with you about it.
That’s intimacy; the freedom to let someone meet you in the ugly spaces. David didn’t hesitate in that.
And even with all that raw intimacy, we still always find David approaching God with such reverence for who He is. Psalm 103 is WELL worth the read to see what I mean! This is God David was constantly in communication with - the Creator of all life, the Author of Salvation, Great Redeemer, Wonderful Counselor. Intimacy is to be balanced with reverence...and yet how much sweeter that balance makes my relationship with the Lord! He is so high above, and yet so accessible to me at all times. I need no permission or escort into the Throne Room. I have access to this Great and Mighty God, who is also - perfectly - my Loving Heavenly Father, at all times for all things. I can hardly contain my joy as I ponder all of this! It’s like I’m learning it again for the first time as I write this.
I have to be honest with you, though, and share that I’m sitting here wondering why I have not invested myself into this kind of prayer life; this kind of open communication and relationship with my Father. I had it once, where did it go? I want to know Him the same way I want to be known by Him.
Our prayer lives are not about routine and just “putting the time in.” It’s about intimacy and pure intention to know and be known by God Himself. We pursue what and who matters to us, and we connect with who we've taken the time to love.
Something to Consider…
How is your relationship with God looking at it from the lens of open, honest communication?
As always, I encourage you to be brutally honest with yourself. No lasting change is achieved by painting a picture of ourselves and our intentions that isn’t accurate. The reassuring truth is that if you need the Lord to wake your heart up a little bit, He will. Be bold enough to ask.