It’s been said that prayer is just talking to God. Well, I’m single, and I live with a super-sized border collie. So if you walk into my house, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I have a disorder, because I talk to Him out loud pretty much all the time. Not the dog, I mean, God; although the dog does get his fair share.
How do you pray? Years ago I did list prayers. Dear Jesus, here are all the things I need to remember to talk to you about today…Amen. Then came the ACTS prayer. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. With all kinds of variations in between.
In some ways I think He doesn’t care how we talk to Him, as long as we do. In any relationship there’s a starting point. If we’re serious about being in a relationship, whether it’s with God, or with a person, the more we get to know each other, the deeper our intimacy grows and the nature of our communication changes. I wouldn’t expect either person to fill all the silences when I’m with someone I have known for a long time and know very well. Especially when we are just appreciating each others’ company or some beautiful scenery together.
There are times to speak and to be silent, to ask and to listen, to worship and to declare. What’s most important I think is to seek to get to know Him in the same way we want to get to know a person we have fallen in love with. That’s how He sees us, He’s perpetually in love.
So, I have discovered something very useful over the past few years. In all my talking and listening, sometimes I hear something I don’t understand, and it’s only in walking it out that I get the point. There was one such incident with prayer. It wasn’t about prayer in general, but about A Prayer: Specific.
It was the Aaronic Prayer.
The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons, “This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
‘“‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.’”
‘So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.’ Numbers 6:22-27 (NIV)
There was an occasion to pray specifically for someone, which I had done for other people before, but this time was different. When I asked what God wanted me to pray, I got a curious reply. All He wanted me to pray was this set of verses. So any time I was prompted to pray, or anytime I felt like praying, all I was to pray was this prayer. Needless to say, I got pretty good at it.
However, for probably the first time in forever, I didn’t ask why. This was a big fat personal failure on my part. Instead of praying with knowledge, I was praying out of ignorance. This is not a problem, because I was praying exactly what Father wanted, I just wish I had known what He was doing at the time!!
I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about the Jewish peoples as a nation, even disparate and disconnected as they might look in modern times. There are several things that stand out to me in particular. True or not, there is a reputation that they carry with them for having a good business sense, that there is a touch of “Midas” about them. Also that among the peoples of the world, they are some of the most vilified and persecuted peoples. I have occasion to wonder that this may very well come down to among other things, that single prayer.
The Levitical Priests were commanded of God to pray over the people of God those words, and God Himself said that those words would put onto the people the NAME OF GOD and God would Bless them.
In effect, they would become targets. God Targets.
If you look at those words, there is no room in them for any preconceived idea about what the pray-er might think the pray-ee might need God to do for them. Not even in their thoughts. God Himself has already said what He is going to do in the process of those words being prayed over someone, and therefore it is His idea only how He will walk those words out in their life.
Neither the person who prays, nor the person who receives could ever know what God knows is best for them. If I pray, “Keep XXX person safe” but God knows that they need to break an arm in order to realise that they are not superman, then I am standing in the way of God. If they need to be blessed with a million dollars, and I’m only praying for their bills to be paid, then I’m standing in the way of God. Does that make sense?
Sometimes, I feel like I’ve done someone a disservice when I pray this prayer over them. I have no idea what God will do… Sometimes I wonder if I’m being mean…do I really want to leave your life open to the God of all the universe to do what He really wants to you??? I know what He’s done to me, but then, I also know what He’s done for me and seriously, if you come near me, I’m going to pray this prayer over you until your life changes.
We can change the world with this one prayer. I have seen it change lives. Turn peoples’ situations inside out and upside down until they come out the right way up.
Pray it over everyone you can think of, and don’t stop. It really works and God Himself Said.
God Bless You Very Much