Prayer – Encountering God (He Is Always Alongside)

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Series: Prayer

Sun am 2nd December 2012 – Kobus Swart

Jeremiah 33:3; Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 109; Matt. 28:20; John 14:1-16; 2 Corinthians 6:16;
John 15:7; Matt. 24:27; John 21:13-14; Luke 24:13-35; Philippians 4:4-7; 2 Peter 1:3;
1 John 5; (Gen. 32:24-28); (Gen. 28:16-17)

The Bible talks about different kinds of prayer: the intercessory prayer, the travailing prayer, the petitioning prayer etc. God is adjusting the whole issue of waiting on the Lord and prayer so that we can become more effective in partnering with Him.

We must stop merely praying for something; our prayers must now shift to praying for the manifestation of the PERSON. Often the real meaning of the names of God – especially in the Old Testament – has been misunderstood. “Yahweh-Yireh” is not only the One who provides, but He is our provision. It is not what you get from Him but a manifestation of the God who is our provision. So also “Yahweh-Ropheka” means God who is our healing. We do not only pray for healing; we pray for a manifestation of God who is our Healer, who is our healing. “Yahweh-Shalom” means God is our peace! So we must never forget we are not praying for something as much as we are praying for the manifestation of Him. Many of us have long lists of prayers, many of them unanswered because we pray incorrectly.

Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jer. 33:3). “Call to me” does not mean that God is deaf and we must shout. It does not mean that He is far away. What it means in the Hebrew is a movement towards, so when we call unto God something in us is moving towards Him, which results in an encounter with Him. So if we call Him in prayer it is not going to be shouting at God for what we need. God still answers when we do not deserve things but it has to shift to an encounter, the kind of encounter that will leave us changed, because we I received more than “something”; we meet the Person. So when He says, “Call to Me,” there is an engagement, a moving towards. Isaiah 40:31 refers to those that wait upon the Lord. It means having an exchange with Him that is more than a passive sitting and waiting. It is aggressive in the sense of its sharp focus, your face set like flint, ears tuned to that frequency. David said “I am prayer” (Ps. 109). David was a walking conversation with God.

Call upon God; why call? Is He far away? No. Jesus said “I am with you till the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). The word parousia in the Greek has been translated in the English simply as “coming” but if you study this you find there are various facets and phases of what is known as “the second coming”. The word parousia consists of two Greek words tied together “Para” means “alongside” and“sia” means “to be”. Therefore parousia means to be alongside; “I am always alongside you”. So often when we pray,  in the back of our mind we are praying to a distant God, while He is right next to us (He is in us.) We must cultivate this awareness as it will change our prayer life.

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places (John 14:1).Each one of us is part of this dwelling place. If it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. Correctly translated, it should read “go to prepare you a place.” You will become that place. “For we are the temples of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16). God lives in us, He is not far away.

I will ask the father and he will give you another helper that he may be with you forever (John 14:16). If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you (John 15:7). Do you want your prayer to be answered? There is another qualification; His words must abide in you and you must abide in Him, then you can ask whatever you wish and it shall be given to you.

The presence of God is here now but it will increase in intensity towards that great day of the final apocalypse (the unveiling). His coming will be like lightning striking from the East to the West (Matt. 24:27). East is where the sun comes up and west is where it sets, so He is talking about and increasing intensity of His presence.

God is here but we do not always know or sense it. Jacob said “God was here and I knew it not” (Gen. 28:16-17). How many people leave a meeting with heavenly worship growing in intensity and still say they did not feel or sense anything? God is here and often people do not realize, sense or know this.

There are times that He might surprise us. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them and the fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead (John 21:13-14). After the resurrection of Christ, He could disappear and appear anytime, anywhere. If that happens it must be God who decided to pull the curtain and to “epiphanea” which is the other word for “coming”- to make Himself visible and to manifest Himself.

On the road to Emmaus two men were walking and then suddenly Jesus walked alongside them (Luke. 24:13-35). Their eyes were closed and withheld from recognising Him. So many times He is right there but we do not recognise Him. Their hearts were burning but they did not know why and as Jesus took and broke the bread their eyes were opened. Then He vanished. But He only disappeared physically; He was still there. He wanted them to learn not to relate by visible signs. Activate your faith and the eyes of faith will envision Him. Talk to Him, call on Him, engage with Him, and wait on Him. Our prayer life must change from kneeling and mumbling a few words. “… The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7). In the spirit most people’s prayers sound like a terrible noise because it is full of worry and stress. If we believe that we have heard from God, what we ask in His will is already taken care of. There will be thanksgiving in my heart because I know I am asking in His will. The bottom line is to pray on the basis of the finished works of Christ. Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3). All things have been given to us already, so behind my request there is to be a thrust of thanksgiving.

Often God’s silence makes me feel the fault is mine and perhaps I have sinned and missed the mark and that is why God is withholding the answer. That comes from a mindset that cannot see that neither the fall of Adam nor the sin nature has any hold on those who are in Christ Jesus. In him I am restored, reconciled, I am a new creation. We need more of the word in us and we need to be in Him so whatever we ask we will receive. Then we can have the confidence that whenever we pray and ask what is in His will, He will grant it to us.