A few weeks ago I wrote a post titled, You Do Not Know What Kind of “spirit” You Are Of. There are a couple of subjects I want to delve further into from this previous post. The first being the word prayer in the New Testament. I want to start with a couple of scriptures:
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;”
Colossians 4:2 NASB
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NASB
These two verses and the way they were taught had given me a great amount of fear…..that I wasn’t living up to what God wanted me to do. About four years ago, I and many other woman leaders were told we must pray for three hours daily. This was a requirement put on us by the female pastor. I would get up at 4 am every morning to log in my three hours fully believing if I didn’t then God would NOT: bless me, protect me, keep me behaving right all day, something would happen negatively towards me my family or my friends, love me, make sure I was not the weak link, bless my marriage, keep my pastors safe and the list went on. I was told this was the way to get deeper spiritually (aka: a higher level with God) and it was a requirement to be on leadership. It became a ritual for me and not relationship and many times it felt empty and hollow. Truthfully there were many times I fell asleep. I was exhausted and I lived in fear. This is where the religious spirit had ahold of me….but more on that later. Three years ago the Lord told me to let go of the rules and then a couple of weeks later brought me revelation and freedom from this religiosity. I had been yearning to understand or see Him clearly as He sees me (to read more click here: It is Time to Let Go of the Rules-Otherwise Known as the Law). As I said in my last post, it all started with my friend asking me what prayer is; I desire the body of Christ to be free from the religious spirit and to walk freely and safely in trust (faith). I desire the body of Christ to know who they are and Whose they are, walking confidently and assuredly in Faith. Not fearful and scared of not having done enough, prayed enough, sinned to much, or simply not being perfect enough. But instead to rest in what Jesus had done for them and to actually rest in prayer. Let me explain:
In the two verses above the word prayer is used as a verb and a noun. In Colossians it is a noun (person, place or thing) and in Thessalonians it is a verb (action). Both the noun and the verb have the same meaning:
4335 proseux (from 4314 /prós, “towards, exchange” and 2171/euxe, “a wish, prayer”) – properly, exchange of wishes; prayer. See 4336 (proseuxomai).
4336 (VERB) proseúxomai (from 4314 /prós, “towards, exchange” and 2172/euxomai, “to wish, pray”) – properly, to exchange wishes; pray – literally, to interact with the Lord by switching human wishes (ideas) for His wishes as He imparts faith (“divine persuasion”). Accordingly, praying (4336/proseuxomai) is closely inter-connected with 4102 /pístis (“faith”) in the NT.
The main idea here is to exchange your wishes for God’s wishes…..but where does that happen exactly….and how in the world does this happen continuously????? I believe I got an answer and I desire every believer…..everyone to see this amazingly beautiful thing God did for us.
Remember when Jesus spoke to His Father in John 17: “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:22-23 NASB). This is describing what will happen when they receive the Holy Spirit…literally God in us. This describes the relationship He will have with those that believe (trust, have faith in) Jesus Christ, I in them. So many times we are taught that we are talking to God up in Heaven, far away from us. At least I was. I have heard things like: Have you hit a ceiling in your prayers, Are your prayers getting through, God just feels so far away right now….. This is the wrong viewpoint of God and where He is at. Here is a great vision that a friend of mine received while I was talking about what the Lord was showing me: He saw how Ironman (Tony Stark from the Avenger) had to put the device in his chest otherwise he couldn’t live. How that device intertwined with his body and became a part of him. This is how the Holy Spirit comes in and intertwines with our bodies and we become one when we open the free gift from Jesus. Him in us. “We become one” means the deepest level of intimacy a human can EVER have, PERIOD. The Holy Spirit dwells within us, makes us a new creation, gives Godly wisdom, teaches, heals, helps and loves.
Back to the scriptures above. In the past these scriptures brought me so much fear I would never be enough for God..or for anyone. If we understand we are now the temple (noun: place of prayer 4335) this means the dwelling place of God. His earthly abode where His presence resides. Yes, that is in you and me as believers. He is always there, never leaves us…not even when we sleep. Within you there is a constant resounding of prayer. Your spirit to His Spirit. Always, continuously…sometimes without your acknowledgement of “prayer” but it is happening within you. It is an exchange from your wishes to His wishes and they become one….our wishes together. Let’s dig into Colossians first. The fuller meaning here according to biblehub.com definitions are:
“The exchange of wishes (yours to Gods; this is a noun here, a place) consistently showing strength despite difficulties be awake on the inside giving thanks for the grace in you.” Colossians 4:2
“….without any unnecessary time gap interface with (naturally suggests the cycle of initiation and response) God in the exchange of wishes (yours for His); within the sphere of every part that applies acknowledge that God’s grace works well…..”1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
I desire for everyone to see the depth of what Jesus did and what the Father had planned since the beginning of time. The beauty of the Cross and all that Jesus’ work had accomplished for the world. The gift. Inside you is the “secret place” Jesus talked about that we have all the time, 24/7. Inside of us is where the exchanging is happening sometimes very visibly to us and at other times not so visibly. The Potter is the creator and we are the clay, I will not complain at the beauty of this. In the past the Jews had to either go to the temple or a high place to pray. It was a requirement. Now this place lives in us and the exchange happens with in us. This also ties into resting. I rest in God. I know we are always together, always communicating, and He has good in store for me despite how my circumstances look. I knowingly talk to Him and sometimes I am unknowingly talking to Him because this is the most intimate relationship a human will ever have in this lifetime, Him in us. It is no longer a religious experience but a natural relationship I have with the One I trust. It is not a relationship I must work at but one that is as easy to just sit on the couch with and you don’t have to say anything at all. Remember Jesus said, “”For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” (Matthew 6:25-30 NASB). I don’t have to ask for these things they are provided for me by a loving Father. I sought for His kingdom and His righteousness; and I have that because I simply trusted so all these other things have been added for me…I simply believe.
It is interesting how the Apostles back in the day would ask for prayer. They asked for the ability to fight the good fight of faith, and to have words to help people understand the message of Jesus. It was big picture prayers knowing that the Father had the rest. Thankfulness is important…I have written about that in my original post I linked above, “It is Time to Let Go of the Rules…”. I will leave you with one story of just one example of the way God in me helps me exchange my wishes for His:
One night when my boys were 3 and 4, I was exhausted. My husband has worked nights for years; so I have single parented at nights for most of our children’s lives. Now if you have had children, you know that the night time routine can sometimes be challenging. For me my older child had night terrors and so I needed wisdom and advice from the Lord on how to help him. I understood only He would know how to deal with this because He had created him. We called it cuddles. Every night we would cuddle together in one of the boys beds, I would read a story, pray and then we would turn off the lights while I stayed until they both fell asleep, then I would move the other child into their own bed. I did this seven days a week and one night I was thinking, “I am tired of this, I just want some more time to myself and I need to come up with a better plan.” All of a sudden, out of nowhere I heard the Lord say to me, “Let me help you understand how they feel when you cuddle with them at night while they go to sleep.” This is when I felt His love encompass me like giant arms, envelop me in His being from the outside. I had never felt this much love in my entire life, nor has it ever happened again like this. In that moment I understood how good it felt to be my two boys with my cuddles. How safe and loved they felt. And how easy it was to go to sleep; because that is exactly what happened for me. From that moment on I made it a mission to not miss a night for them. The time became of utmost importance no matter how tired I was. To this day they still remember cuddles and the impact it has left on their lives is miraculous.
I could delve even more into this word…..yet…..Here is what the Lord wanted me to say to you:
“Under the law the people were told what to do, how to do it, how to pray, how to act, what to sacrifice, how to live, and how to have relationship with Me. My Son, Jesus, changed all that with His death and resurrection. His Will was My Will. My Son, had to fulfill the law. He lived the law, fulfilled it for you to be free to have relationship with Us. He paid the payment required for all sin for all time for the whole world. It is a gift one receives as they trust in Him. Jesus has made the way for the place of exchanging, of meeting Me face to face to be within you and the interfacing with Me within you changes you. Remember the interfacing with Me is a natural occurrence, it comes from a place of rest, not something you must work at. Much as a computer interfaces with a program loaded on it. Simply trust ME.”