Rev. Sam C. Samuel
Communication systems have made rapid advances in our day – Internet, wifi, social media to name a few. It has become vital even for our survival. In war or peace communication system plays a key role in the life of a nation. In Christian life, prayer and the Word of God play the same role. In prayer we stay in touch with God. God communicates His voice, purpose and plan for our life when we spend time reading and meditating His Word. Prayer is like our breath. We cease to live when we stop breathing. So is the Word of God. Jesus said; man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds out of His mouth. We should be committed to both these spiritual disciplines if we want to maintain our Christian identity.
Let me consider prayer first. There are two levels in prayer life. The primary prayer goal is to Know God. In Hebrew the word Know is ‘yada’ which means ‘intimacy’ that exists in the husband-wife relationship. Prayer helps us develop this love relationship with God. The greatest commandment in the Bible is to love God with all our heart, all our mind, all our spirit and all our strength. Intimacy will be developed over a longtime as in a friendship. Only when we are committed to this discipline, intimacy with God becomes a reality. Let me give an illustration. When I am on my way to the airport, sometimes I like to spend 15 minutes with a bosom friend of mine. After the conversation, I look at my watch, Alas! One hour is gone. Let me change the scene. I am in prayer. I want to spend an hour in prayer. Finally I look at my watch.But only 15 minutes have passed. What contributed the difference! The love factor. Because I love my friend one hour has gone like 15 minutes.Because I consider my time with God as a duty 15 minutes went like an hour.
In prayer we pour out our heart to God. In praise and worship we are reflecting on who God is and what He is: His various attributes. The psalmist says about God as one who inhabits in the praises of Israel. Then we switch over to confess as we draw to a holy God. Only Jesus’ blood can wash us clean and qualify us to enter his throne of grace. Then follows a season of thanksgiving, giving thanks for all the blessings and benefits received from Him. Then we bring our personal needs and needs of our fellow men which we call intercession. Paul calls this praying always with all kinds of prayers.
The second level is to put it in the words of John R. Rice ‘Prayer is asking and receiving.’ Jesus also emphasized this in his sermon on the mount. Ask and it shall be given to you. It is in continuous tense. We have to keep on asking until it shall be given to you. But in his first epistle John puts a condition. If you ask anything according to His will He will give to us 1 Jn. 5:14.
In Mt. 6:33 we read,“seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these will be added unto you”. Jesus is our example. A great while before the day he used to go out to a solitary place and spent time in prayer. He was totally dependent on His father for everything he said or did. Jesus said,“without me you can do nothing” John 15. All the men whom God used were those who gave their first hours to hearing from God and communicating with Him. John Wesley and Martin Luther are examples among many.
The Word of God
God communicates His will for our lives,when we spend time reading and meditating upon the Word.
Heb.4:12 explains what it does. “For the word of God is powerful and sharper than any two edged sword piercing even to the division of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart”.
It brings regeneration and we are born again through the Word by the Holy Spirit. So Peter says that a new born baby desires for the sincere milk of the Word of God that you may grow thereby. (1 Pet. 2:1,2) The Word helps us to grow in salvation. But when we become mature in Christ the same word turns out of be the strong meal (Heb. 5:12, 13).
Jesus emphasizes the abiding nature of the Word of God. “The heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away”
Jesus while concluding His sermonon the Mount said,“therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Mt. 7:24)
Jesus said ‘My sheep hear my voice’. It is a still small voice. In the stillness of the early morning hours we have to wait upon the Lord with the open Bible.While reading and meditating upon His word we will be able to hear our Master’s voice. The Word will keep you from sin or if there is sin in your life you will have no interest or hunger to feed on His word. “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I may not sin against thee” (Ps. 119:11).
The word of God will keep you holy Ps. 119:9. How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word.Psalm 119 tells all about the virtues of God’s word.
The word of God will make your prayer life a successful one as you appropriate God’s promises in your prayer. Paul says in Colossians 3:16. “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom”. He uses the word ‘wisdom’ which means that it is not enough you memorize God’s Word but you should be able to use it in the right way at the right time. Then only it becomes useful.
Both these disciplines are the communication system in the life of a Christian. Now very many people find little time for the Word of God and prayer. Most of the time they spend in WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube. The devil is very cunning to steal our precious time. In our fight against the enemy we are too weak to resist and the result is a defeated Christian life. We need commitment to keep these two spiritual disciplines going. May the Lord help us to be committed to keep our communication system alive and vibrant.