Greetings, I wish I could say it was by some profound inspiration that I’m writing at this hour but the reason is more irritating actually. It’s just past 1:30am and I can’t sleep despite feeling very tired. I decided to kill the time by sharing some things I’ve been thinking on lately regarding prayer. I know what I am about to share leans more toward the abstract side of things and lacks simplicity or practicality. However, sometimes we need to be reminded, that the fruit of a living and true connection with God is not always something we can easily explain, manufacture or quantify. So bear with me please. Think about prayer and what it means to be alive spiritually.
Cultivate something beyond dead religion… pray!
I believe prayer is essential to cultivating something beyond a dead religion of human origin. Real communion with God is a purely spiritual discipline that cannot be concocted and I think that’s why in many religious circles it’s minimized and or neglected. It’s a mystical activity. When we connect with God something powerful happens in us and to us.
The act of connecting to God and this reach toward the divine is then somehow reciprocated with revelation, enlightenment and new found faith and spiritual dynamic is beyond the realm of “trying to be good.” Prayer is in fact the opposite of our assertion of any strength or dominance, it is the admission of our need and emptiness in the light of an apparent fulness and reality.
Interfacing with Light ought to make us more honest, break off arrogance and soften the heart. It pierces veils and peels aways facades. We find that standing vulnerable in grace we are stronger than any cobbled together identity we were able to wear could provide. The vacuum of insecurity ebbs away and is replaced with a vulnerability before God. This is followed by an injection of His grace and an installation of the knowledge of His love.
That knowledge of Him gives birth to a greater indwelling of Love that is manifest in power and confidence. Not a power common to the world, for this energy bears people towards greater degrees of sacrifice and care. It enlarges us for others, it bends our psyche toward the care of people and away from things. It relieves us of worldly anxiety and the burdens born of base desires. This impartation that comes from a living connection with God fuels us.
Get spiritually fueled.
Spiritual fuel is not for the pursuit of success. It does not power us to achieve. The bewildering fruit of this motivation and dynamic God gives is that of giving and loss. We march down into what the world would see as humiliating new depths of service and concentrated compassion. We see all people with new eyes when we live with and by the Spirit; there’s a spark of faith that lights our perspective. In conjunction, there is a warmth of hope that feeds and moves us when we partake of spiritual reality found in revelation. Love begins to govern and drive us, becoming apparent in every interaction and choice we make when we learn to consistently commune Him in a dynamic way as well. I share all of this to say, we need God’s life, reality and power not dead religion or mere moralism.
To encourage further here’s a scripture I’ve been feeding on the last few days that speaks of this dynamic grace and what it produces in us.
“whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water *springing up* to eternal life.” – John 4:14
The Greek word translated “springing up” is ἅλλομαι (transliterated as hallomai) and is used elsewhere in Scripture and in greek writing to describe the act of*leaping* and *gushing*. Jesus is saying that this *spiritual water* that he will give to us to drink will result in a resource the leaps, moves and propels in us resulting in the production of what he refers to as *eternal life.* Before considering the fulness of the words *eternal life,* we need to pause and thank God for this propelling power, this spring within us that can nourish, fill and empower. This source of vitality and energy that is predisposed toward God is ours to receive and share in. I want to live in cooperation with the movement. The surging, this gushing of divine hydration should be partaken of daily by faith. We are mere shadows of God’s intention otherwise.
Eternal life is not then; It’s now and it’s more!
This “springing up” ultimately results in the production of what Jesus calls*”eternal life.”* When we hear these words the common association Is that of our being received into heaven following death, there to live blissfully forever. We think quite simply of the words “eternal life” and relegate them to a mere after death experience of a new graduated form of life. While the christian faith very clearly holds to the promise of resurrection and the inheritance of a kingdom that by nature is *eternal* we must not miss the intended meaning and reality Jesus was communicating in this passage.
The *eternal life* being produced in us as a result of our drinking the “water” Jesus gives to us and the springing up that the said water creates is one of spiritual reality and is tied to God’s nature and life itself. Christians come alive spiritually and are introduced to God’s reality upon partaking of this grace. By virtue of this new life they experience God in a very powerful and profound way. The dynamic spiritual power initiates “renewal” ( 2 Cor 3: 16-18, 2 Cor 4:16, Col 3:10, Eph 4:23, Rom 12:2) and leads to a renovation of the soul and even transformation.
This water *“springing up unto eternal life”* is the power of God establishing His nature and dynamic in us as a New Life to be lived and expressed in the earth. That is to say God is giving us something to experience, grow in and be affected by now. He is imparting His life into us. Here’s an excerpt from Strong’s Concordance describing the greek adjective used for eternal life (αἰώνιος, ία, ιον / aiónios) in John 4:4.
166 (aiṓnios) does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age (165 /aiṓn) it relates to. Thus believers live in “eternal (166 /aiṓnios) life” right now, experiencing this quality of God’s life now as a present possession. – Strong’s Concordance
We need to overcome!
To summarize, in order for us to be dynamic and alive spiritually we need communion with God. We need to receive of Him daily and learn to live by a source that is beyond emotion, intellect or volition. A source that first confronts, then furnishes and empowers us as expressions and representations of His life in the earth. We become light when we learn to live lives connected to God. We need to partake of the metaphorical bread and water he offers to us, and when we do, it results in spiritual growth.
When I think of the current climate of our culture and the polarization, politics and plain old cynicism that seems to abound I can’t help but feel that many of us have possibly stopped “living” God’s life. We can’t let our “love grow cold” (Matt 24:12), growing bitter and Pharisaical. We have to “break up the fallow ground of our hearts” and feel God’s heart again. The Heart who has people as the object of It’s affection, even those that could care less. Draw near to God and warm yourself at the fire of His Passion. Let’s be moved by the burning fire of the gospel again. Come alive!
I share this from my limited experience and my current understanding of God’s will for us. That being said I’m flawed and have so much more grow spiritually. I feel a compulsion however to encourage us all to seek this Life and Dynamic he provides to us through connection. May God grace us to cultivate and participate In the discipline of prayer on a new level. Blessings to you and your household. Drink of this Water, today!