WALKING WITH GOD
One of my favourite verses in the bible is so short, but has really filled my mind with such imagination…..the story of Enoch!
“Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and then he was no more, because God took him away.”
We find this scripture in Genesis chapter 5, right in the middle of the lineage between Adam and Noah. In this historical record of Adam’s generations, we find a reference to Enoch where it says – Enoch walked with God…for 300 years.
Every other reference to the sons of Adam, show that they “died” but Enoch, who walked with God was taken away by God. The name Enoch when translated is “that he should not see death”
Enoch’s walk with God was so well known and recognized by his community that when the historians wrote his eulogy and documented Adam’s lineage they wrote that “Enoch walked with God. “
One of the commentaries says “To walk with God, is to set God always before us, and to act as those that are always under his eye. It is to live a life of communion with God, it is to make God’s word our rule, and his glory our end, in all our actions; it is to make it our constant care and endeavour in everything to please God, and in nothing to offend him; it is to comply with his will, to concur with his designs, and to be workers together with him.
When we walk with God, we become one with God – we understand and know His will, we know what God wants, His likes / dislikes….WE KNOW GOD, and everything we do in our lives is based upon pleasing God and in accordance with His Love and His Will.
I don’t know about you, but I would like my Eulogy to say “Philip walked with God “ I am also sure you know people whose lives reflected God in all its fullness, and Walked with God!
Throughout the bible we read of other men and women “Righteous Saints” like Moses, Elijah, Peter & Paul, Ruth Esther and Mary who were followers and friends of God and Jesus Christ. People who walked with God –with such a close relationship with God connecting with Him on such a deep and intimate level, that these men & women were considered dangerous by the different governments of the day,
· They experienced the Power and Glory of God,
· They saw miracles, healing, transformation, change
· They walked with God!
- Moses walked with God and saw God’s Glory in the burning bush;his face reflected God’s Glory when He came down from the mountain.
- Elijah walked with God and saw the heavenly Hosts – the armies of God protecting them from overwhelming odds.
- Esther saved a nation from persecution.
- Peter walked with God and saw Jesus Transformed, walked on water…and healed people, one person was even healed when his shadow fell upon someone, and Paul – wrote most of the new testament.
What set these men & women apart from others?
Were they that different from us?
NO, they were the same as us except they walked with God…closely.
- They prayed.
- They studied God’s word
- They shared the Gospel.
THEY KNEW GOD INTIMATELY.
“Walking with God” is all about COMING into a closer relationship with God. Your life will be defined by your relationship with God and you will make an impact in our world.
In order to come closer to God, you need to realise –
- The importance of Prayer –
- Why Pray and How to Pray?
- Reading God’s Word and recognizing the Life changing power of God’s word
So, our desire should be to discover how to pray, when to pray, what to pray for and why should we pray.
Let’s start with WHY PRAY?
Here is another question, why talk, why communicate? We all talk don’t we? We talk to our wives, husbands, children, and people at work, even strangers…Sometimes the conversation is good and positive, and sometimes it’s not and leads to a breakdown in communication.
When we talk to our husbands or wives, we have different types of “talks” There is the shopping list talk… “please fetch bread and milk, some eggs and also some…usually we forget the last item ( I know I do!)” There is intimate talk, talk about our kids and then there is “THE TALK!” We won’t go into that here.
Communication between you and your spouse develops the relationship, and when the communication is based on speaking and listening and HEARING, the relationship grows and you begin you understand the needs and wants of the other person.
Google says that communication is the exchanging of information, whilst Webster says it can mean a Personal Rapport with someone. Communication as defined in the dictionary as making known your thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions to the other person. Communication can be one-sided, but that is not effective communication- good communication is where both parties make known what is on their heart.
Prayer is personal and is your connection with God. Prayer is all about you communicating with God and sharing your heart, ideas, emotions & feelings and allowing God to do the same.
But let’s be honest, most of the time our prayers are the “shopping list” types of prayer… LORD, I need this, LORD I need that…Please help me with this…Please give me that! And while there is nothing wrong with these prayers, our desire is to discover ALL of GOD and all He can do in our lives, to walk closer to God and not consider God as our personal banker, shopper or Can Do type of Guy.
Remember, when Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He did teach them about asking for daily needs, but the lesson Jesus gave His disciples was a little deeper and not just about meeting needs- it was about discovering and growing a relationship with God.
Luke 11: 1-5
Once Jesus was praying in a certain place. After he had finished, one of his disciples told him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” So he told them, “Whenever you pray you are to say, ‘Father, may your name be kept holy. May your kingdom come. Keep giving us every day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive everyone who sins against us. And never bring us into temptation.’’”
The Disciples of Christ, who had been travelling with him and part of his ministry on earth, were Jewish men who were well used to attending the synagogues and prayer times. They were devout men who would attend the feasts, and watch the Pharisees and Sadducees and all the other teachers pray, but they had seen John the Baptist pray and they had been watching Jesus pray, and something about their prayer was different. There was an intimacy, a truthfulness and they would have noted how Jesus was praying regularly – in the morning and the evening, they would have noticed how Jesus prayed and what he prayed and the manner in which he prayed, and when the disciple asked for a lesson on prayer, he didn’t ask Jesus, LORD teach us how to pray, he asked Him “TEACH US TO PRAY”
The lesson on prayer was not so much about the content of the prayer as it was about the example of prayer that Jesus had been setting in His life before His followers.
TEACH ME TO PRAY!
The disciple was saying “ LORD, I want to discover the power that is so evident in you because of your prayers and the way in which you pray, I want to know how to connect with GOD in the same way that you do.
And that is our lesson – PRAYER is not so much about the content as it is about the connection!
Yes, Jesus spoke about Honouring and Glorifying God, and asking for our daily bread and forgiveness of sins and protection against temptation, but if that is all we get out of that scripture we are missing the whole point of Jesus’ lesson which was His life.
It was the example of Prayer in His Life.
When Jesus woke up / got up he went somewhere private and prayed. When Jesus ended His day of ministry, he prayed. Jesus prayed constantly and with intimacy, His prayer life defined his life. For Jesus, prayer was His most important task in life. Prayer connected Him with God and there was power in His life.
For some of the greatest preachers “Prayer was the most serious work of their most productive lives.” and that is THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER!
We need to move away from only asking what should I pray, or how should I pray but to begin asking “LORD, teach me TO PRAY.”
And the beginning of that lesson is to start praying. And the object of your / our prayer should be God.
Our prayer life should have as its goal God – Getting to know God, knowing His will and recognizing His voice.
Here are some practical tips for praying, and over the next week I will send out a daily scripture reading with a few questions to help you as you further grow your prayer life. When you read these scriptures, and most of them are short excerpts from scripture, use them to prepare yourself for a deeper prayer life.
Remember your objective is firstly to connect with God and understand God’s heart and will more. That is your first step, as you come closer to God and understand more of what God wants, then when you pray you will be praying what God wants to pray.
HOW to PRAY-
YOUR PRIVATE / SECRET PLACE
- Have a place where you can pray uninterrupted.
- Turn off your cell phone / put on silent
- Find a position whereby you can focus your mind and body on God. Kneeling does help because it reminds you why you are there ( try a cushion under your knees)
- A Secret place also means that privacy in your mind where you place ALL you focus on God. (watch out for temptation to go do other things – be disciplined.)
USE MEDITATION / IMAGINATION TO COME CLOSER TO GOD.
- God speaks to us through our imagination into our souls.
- A great tip I learnt from Trevor Hudson is to take a scripture reading preferably from the Gospels and to imagine that I am there with Jesus as one of His disciples…imagine for example you are with the disciples watching Jesus Pray and your fellow disciple asks Jesus about prayer,
- Or imagine you are with Jesus at the end of the day as He goes off somewhere to pray and you walk with Him.
- As you walk with Jesus what would you ask Him? “Jesus, what are you going to pray about LORD?
TAKE TIME TO LISTEN TO GOD – ASK GOD TO SPEAK TO YOU.
- God may speak to you through His word – have a bible close by.
- God may speak to you by laying a scripture or phrase on your heart / mind
- Ask God to teach you to pray.
REMEMBER – the only way to learn how to pray is TO PRAY.
As you are praying and have spent some time coming into God’s presence, God may lay a need on your heart – it may be a name of someone or something, that is God urging you to pray about for that person or issue – pray about it.
Use a prayer journal – it is helpful to write down some of the things you have been about and for, whether its prayers for your own personal change or prayers for other people, or you own personal needs. It is awesome when you read back at old prayers and see how God answered your prayers.
TO CHANGE OUR WORLD!
Moses was bold enough to pray because he believed he could change his world around him. “God constantly changes His mind in accordance with His unchanging Love.” ( unknown author) We are working with God to change the future, and we are to change the world by prayer
FINALLY: Prayer for the Disciples, (& Jesus) was always POSITIVE and in the form of a COMMAND. E.g. – Be healed, Get up and walk! There was no indecisive prayer, No-body prayed “ if it be your will” And so, we should pray with an expectation that a change will and should occur, but also prayer should be led by the Holy Spirit – pray for what God wants.
WHAT SHOULD WE PRAY FOR?
TO CHANGE OURSELVES – to reflect more of God and His spirit within.
What did the disciples / Saints / Great Revivalists pray for?
- They prayed for miracles,
- They prayed for God’s blessing
- They prayed for God’s intervention
- THEY PRAYED FOR GOD’S PRESENCE, TO EXPERIENCE GOD IN ALL HIS GLORY.
The bible tells us to:
“Devote yourselves to prayer. Be alert and thankful when you pray, and then to “Pray in the Spirit in every situation. Use every kind of prayer and request there is. For the same reason be alert. Use every kind of effort and make every kind of request for all of God’s people.” In other words – Pray Always. Pray constantly. Pray for other people, but pray always. As John Wesley says: God does nothing but in answer to prayer !
The best to learn to pray, is to start praying!