Relating to God through Prayer
by Harvey L. Diamond
God has always meant for prayer to be a dynamic way in which we engage with Him in earnest heart-to-heart conversation. Prayer helps us know God as Creator, Ruler of the universe and loving Father. Engaging in active prayer also helps us value God’s word, way and will, and experience the joy of participating with God as He governs the affairs of the earth.
Read the dialogue between God and Abraham in Genesis 18:23-33. Look how it starts off: “Abraham came near and said…” See how it also ends: “So the Lord went His way…and Abraham returned to his place.” God and Abraham engaged in a real two-way give-and-take communication. God desires such communication with us. Prayer can be so simple, yet a rich way to relate to God.
Yes, God wants us to relentlessly ask, seek and knock at His door for our needs and desires. And, yes, God wants us to earnestly intercede for others. For, He uses the process of prayer and our engagement with Him to work wonders in our hearts, and allow Him to act in the way of His righteousness, and do things His way.
Rich Fellowship with God through Prayer
Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, unless they agree?” In walking with God we bring ourselves into agreement with the word, will and way of God. We do this by coming into alignment with God’s covenant—expressed through His Word and by His Spirit.
David and Isaiah are two people we read about in the Bible who walked intimately with God. They have graciously left us portions of their prayer diaries in the form of Scripture. Their writings provide ample evidence of a lifestyle of prayer.
Sense the passion of David’s heart as he communes with God. Apprehend the confidence he cultivated through active, answered prayer!
Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;
Isaiah also sensed and experienced God’s activity through a lifestyle marked by relentless prayer.
For since the beginning of the world
Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
Who acts for the one who waits for Him.
You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness,
Who remembers You in Your ways.
David and Isaiah illustrate a way of prayer Jewish culture calls kavanah. The word kavanah comes from the Hebrew root word, kavah, which means wait. Kavanah is thus a mode of seeking and communing with God, waiting on God—meditating on His word—as Joshua repeatedly exhorted in Joshua 1.
Such communing with God starts with a mindset of tuning into God with a devotion and concentration intended on understanding the deeper meaning of God’s words and dynamics of His ways. It requires that you be free from extraneous and interfering thoughts, pressures, emotions and distractions. But, it results in apprehending the secrets of the God of the universe!
The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant.
What are some other marks of a rich
and active prayer lifestyle?
Keep the Lord’s commandments
If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever -- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:15-18)
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:3-6)
Abide in the Lord
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:4-11)
Come clean before God
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Rest in God’s grace and strength
“My grace is enough for you, for my power is brought to perfection in weakness.” Therefore, I am very happy to boast about my weaknesses, in order that the Messiah’s power will rest upon me. Yes, I am well pleased with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties endured on behalf of the Messiah; for it is when I am weak that I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 JNT)
Know your place as a child of God
Now because you are sons, God has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of his Son, the Spirit who cries out, “Abba!” (that is, “Dear Father!”). So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son you are also an heir. (Galatians 4:6-7 JNT)
Guard against deceit
Watch out, so that no one will take you captive by means of philosophy and empty deceit, following human tradition which accords with the elemental spirits of the world but does not accord with the Lord. For in him, bodily, lives the fullness of all that God is. And it is in union with him that you have been made full — he is the head of every rule and authority.
Also it was in union with him that you were circumcised with a circumcision not done by human hands, but accomplished by stripping away the old nature’s control over the body. In this circumcision done by the Lord, you were buried along with him by being immersed; and in union with him, you were also raised up along with him by God’s faithfulness that worked when he raised Jesus from the dead. (Colossians 2:6-12 JNT)
Pursue the Lord —His heart, His mind, His grace, His glory
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. 9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. 11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. 13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed[d] the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. (Colossians 2:6-12 NLT)
Pursue Messiah Yeshua—Jesus Christ our Lord—His heart, His mind, His grace, His glory
But the things that used to be advantages for me, I have, because of the Messiah, come to consider a disadvantage. Not only that, but I consider everything a disadvantage in comparison with the supreme value of knowing the Messiah Yeshua as my Lord. It was because of him that I gave up everything and regard it all as garbage, in order to gain the Messiah and be found in union with him, not having any righteousness of my own based on legalism, but having that righteousness which comes through the Messiah’s faithfulness, the righteousness from God based on trust. Yes, I gave it all up in order to know him, that is, to know the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings as I am being conformed to his death, so that somehow I might arrive at being resurrected from the dead. It is not that I have already obtained it or already reached the goal — no, I keep pursuing it in the hope of taking hold of that for which the Messiah Yeshua took hold of me. Brothers, I, for my part, do not think of myself as having yet gotten hold of it; but one thing I do: forgetting what is behind me and straining forward toward what lies ahead, I keep pursuing the goal in order to win the prize offered by God’s upward calling in the Messiah Yeshua. (Philippians 3:7-14 JNT)