Hi everyone, Rob here. I often think that we make the life of Christian faith far more complicated than the Bible makes it out to be. After all, Jesus boiled down the commandments to two: love God with all that you have and love your neighbour as yourself. We can also make the life of prayer more complicated than it needs to be as well. Put things in a certain order, make sure you’re addressing the right member of the trinity, be reverent, make sure your earthly relationships are in good order and on it goes. Here’s what it says in Philippians 4:6.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done (NLT).”
Is that all? Relax, take it all to God and don’t forget to say thanks? It sounds irreverent almost, or dare I say it, casual. What is Scripture telling us about God here? Simply that God is good and his heart can be trusted, so go ahead and offer him yours. “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).”
As a dad I want to be approachable and accessible. I want my children to be able to trust my heart and know that they can share anything with me because my response will be a loving one. The reality is that they do hide things from me sometimes because they think I’ll be mad – and sometimes they’re right, but often they’re not. Often I’ll be thankful that they came to me so I could help them put things right. But from an early age we get trained to be fearful around authority figures because they’re not always predictable. This wreaks havoc with our relationship with God! God is not the headmaster holding a cane; he’s not your dad yelling because you didn’t eat your peas; he’s not your boss telling you that your job is in jeapardy if your sales figures don’t rise in the next month. He is “Abba, Father (Romans 8:15)”. He is the Son who became flesh and blood and “understands our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).” He is the Spirit whose fruit in us includes love, joy and peace (Galatians 5:22).
We are the ones who live in Christ Jesus. This means that we have the same access to God that Jesus did. We can have the same ‘conversational intimacy’ that Jesus had with God. We can share the heart of trust that Jesus had in God. God is good and his heart can be trusted. So let’s give him ours. That is the heart of prayer.
“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most (Hebrews 4:14-16).”