This week’s post is an excerpt taken from the sixth chapter of Patricia’s upcoming book “Twelve Inches – Bridging the Gap between how you feel and what you know about God.” Available on line and in bookstores nationwide on July 7th, 2015.
“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’ ” (Romans 8:15 – NLT)
Many of us have different names by which people call us.
If someone calls me “Mrs. Holbrook”, unless they are thirteen years old or under, the verdict is simple – they just don’t know me. On the other hand, different nicknames and loving abbreviations are normally a demonstration of how close someone is to me.
I have this habit for as long as I remember: if you are part of my family or a close friend, I normally have a nickname for you. It’s usually one which most people you know don’t use for you. When someone changes from an acquaintance to a friend, most likely, they will receive a special nickname from me.
It’s not something planned, it just happens and I know exactly why. The more I get to know someone, the more I love them, the more intimate we become. You are not just someone that I see and wave to as you pass by. You become special to me and so I give you a special name. You know me better than many people.
I call you friend and that’s important to me.
Indeed, intimate and true relationships are hard to find. There is a reason for that – it takes time to develop them.
You cannot expect to be close to someone unless you spend time with them, unselfishly giving yourself to them… unless you are willing to put your own interests aside for them.
Likewise, in many aspects, true and intimate earthly relationships mirror the connection we should have with our Heavenly Father.
We should know Him – as a child that covers her father’s face with kisses as she sits on his lap, uninvited, simply because she knows him.
We should know Him – as my husband and I know each other.
We can look at each other across a room full of people and know what the other one is thinking. We trust each other because we know each other. Likewise, the more intimately we know God, the more we learn to trust Him.
And we become intimate with God through prayer and by studying His Word.
Define prayer, please.
You may be thinking – “Cool. I got that. I pray. What’s next?”
Let me tell you that I thought I knew how to pray until God revealed the truth about my prayer life about nine years ago. I was used to worship and prayer until I realized that my prayer life was suffering from A.D.H.D.
Bear with me. I bet you can relate.
I was home with one small child and pregnant with our second daughter, as busy as a pregnant mother of a toddler can be. I would start praying and, as my prayers went up, a thought would cross my mind and I would quickly move my attention from God to whatever was on my mind.
I could sense that my prayers would go up the room, hit the ceiling and bounce back down.
Reading God’s Word was no different. I would start reading something and would get lost in my thoughts and preoccupations for the day. Quickly and steadily, my prayer life became dull and God became this distant Creator, whom I reverenced and respected, but whom I could not, in all honesty, relate to as a Father.
Can you relate? I believe that all Christians go through a phase such as this at some point in time. We allow the cares of this world to distract us. Or, worse yet, our fellowship with the Father is broken because of deliberate, known sin in our lives.
A lack of intimacy with God is never, ever, the Father’s fault. It is ours. And if you have a hard time concentrating and being quiet before Him, you may need to do what I did.
You may have to get into the closet.
For years I have heard my pastor Dr. Charles Stanley talking about his experience praying in the closet. He has a place in his house and ministry – a dark room with nothing but a pillow and his Bible, where he retires to be alone with God.
So, some time ago, when my family was visiting from Brazil, I could not find a place to pray. I decided to arrange my own prayer closet in the house – a place where God and I could meet in the dark.
A place of silence, nothingness even, where I quietly wait on God to speak. And so I rearranged my walk-in closet and embarked on this amazing journey that changed my prayer life.
As I settle in the dark closet, I ask Him what to do that day. More than praying, I am there to have communion with Him, to bask in His presence.
In the silence of that closet, God admonishes me, directs me and loves on me.
The closet has become the “Abba and me” place. Daddy and His girl.
But I have to say, I don’t always pray in the closet. And it may even not be an option for you.
There were times where my “closet” was my car, during my commute hours in Atlanta traffic.
Or my walk in the park.
The point is not where, but what.
We have such crazy-busy lives nowadays, that unless we give Him silence, we can easily miss His voice.
He speaks. ALL! THE! TIME! But are we listening? The reason why many of us end up “slipping” into a life of spiritual complacency is because we do not hear our Lord.
Truly, as Abba’s children, we really should not need a pastor or a friend to tell us how to live. We should be able to hear Him ourselves… and then, simply obey.
Before anything else, we need to allow God to change US. We need to be still for long enough to allow Him to show us His to do list for our days.
Don’t have time, huh?
Well, if you have time to watch the next episode of that reality show, you have time for a conversation with God.
If you have time to exercise in the park, that’s a perfect time to commune with Him. Take your “closet” with you to the park!
Want a strong 12-inch Faith Bridge?
Consult with the Architect. He knows the drawings. He knows your weaknesses. He knows your blueprint.
Spend time with the Master Architect of your life’s plan. He can’t wait to show you His amazing plan…
And His ways…
And His promises…
Sit still in Abba’s wonderful Presence.
Then, get ready to be blessed.