What makes prayer so special

We have been at enmity with God from our first cry to final breath. Since the fall, we’ve been hiding. Except this time, it’s not with leaves that we shy away from His presence, but with lies, excuses, sin, denial which are all ultimately rebellion. 

We carry on our lives, trying to blot out that moment of nakedness in our lives; we try to act as if that moment of vulnerability, weakness and worse yet, evil, is beneath us. But we are acutely aware of that awful moment in that garden, because it has reared ugly its head in our own lives over and over again. 

When we pray to God, we do something unexpected in this cosmic game of cat and mouse. 

God, who has been seeking us out from when He asked those in the garden

 “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9) 

has been seeking us. But when we pray, instead of desperately trying not to be found, we face Him head on and wrestle it out.

A story that comes to mind is Jacob’s encounter with God in the wilderness. He wrestles with God all night, stubbornly saying: 

“I will not let you go unless you bless me!” (Genesis 32:26)

Although this paints God as unwilling to help us and indifferent to our cries, the context shows the exact opposite. Jacob is coming to Him as a deceiver and an outcast, having deceived his family and stolen his brother’s birth right and blessing. He is unsafe, and like us, exposed, weak, and vulnerable as a result of his wickedness. But God could have killed him there. God is not limited as we are and has infinite strength to overpower Him. God is also omniscient, and aware of Jacob’s heart here. I think that God is pleased to find someone who would pursue Him and seek Him out for once. 

There are countless examples of this in scripture. For example, David was praised by God for being a man after His “own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), and Abraham bartered with God to spare the city that his cousin Lot lived in. God doesn’t have to barter with anyone, but He did in that in this instance to show His willingness to hear what we have to say and His pleasure in those who stop running from Him. 

On the other hand, a lot can also be learned from those who kept running. the book of Jonah is a prime example, where God stops him in his tracks. Of course, we can turn our noses up at Jonah, and those in the garden and say that we would’ve done better but instinctively it’s unlikely that we would have. Fight or flight is engrained into us. Everything we encounter and register as a threat will illicit such a response.

But if you stop running and turn back, you’ll find that God is unwilling to battle and has a treaty, signed in blood.

Through Jesus, something in the nature of the God vs. Man conflict has changed. A mediator, someone who was on both sides, was able to end the war. Now, He contends for us to God. Seated at the right hand of God, He intercedes for us and relays our pleas and cries. 

By His blood shed for us on the cross, we are able to not only drop the weapons, but to become allies. We can partner with God to do His work and we have the joy of calling Him Father (Romans 8:15). 

I hope that the depth of this really touches you, and that you get to grasp what it means to know the most important diplomat to have ever existed. 

Ultimately, what Jesus did was spiritual diplomacy. During his term, not only did he end this ongoing tension, but He also taught us how to approach God and how to pray: 

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.”

– Matthew 6:9b-13b (ESV)


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