During my mother’s last earthly days, she became more confused and lacked the mental clarity she had known in her earlier advanced years. While she recognized me as familiar, there were times where she was confused as to who I was.
To alleviate some of her confusion, I began wearing a name tag to remind her. On many occasions, she would note my nametag and say, “That’s my daughter,” without really associating me as that person. As I recall those times, I cannot help but wonder how often we refer to God or Jesus in a similar way. We know about Him from reading the Bible or listening to preachers or inspirational speakers, but do we really know Him as an actual entity?
Understanding requires head knowledge along with heart knowledge, and this is true in knowing God intimately and personally. Do I know all there is to know about Him? Of course not; that will take infinity. But the more time I spend with Him, the more I grow in my knowledge of Him, and the more relevant are the truths in His Word, as well as the reality of His personal involvement in my life.
Jeremiah, the prophet, struggled with the task of pronouncing God’s judgment on his people. In Jeremiah 29, he reminds them their captivity by Babylon was ultimately from God as a result of their idolatry and disobedience. God’s motives and heart, despite His judgment, are revealed in this familiar verse: “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11) Although allowing them to face judgment for their rebellion, He had not given up on them and would restore them. He then declares: “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (vs. 13)
We all know people we call ‘friends’ in the sense that we know who they are and have some interaction with them. But we do not really know them. On the other hand, we have friends who have walked with us through trials and difficulties, comforted us in sorrow and encouraged us in our pain and vice versa. Those relationships have an intimate knowledge not evident in casual relationships.
The same is true in our relationship with God. Many people know of Him. They may even call Him by name, attend church regularly, and be morally upright. But they do not really know Him because they have never spent time with Him or sought Him wholeheartedly. Just as our knowledge of others grows through communication and interaction with them, our knowledge of God is a by-product of time spent with Him. We call that prayer.
Prayer is the privilege we have for growing in a personal and intimate relationship with Almighty God. It requires having accepted Jesus Christ as the atonement for our sin and being open, honest, vulnerable, and receptive. Journaling is often an effective tool. Writing out biblical truths revealed and expressions of our own needs and desires helps us define our goals, gives us a clearer picture of our progress, and serves as a reminder of the reality of God in His response to our prayers.
The Bible gives us more knowledge about God than we could possibly learn in a normal lifetime. Knowing Him as a loving, faithful Father and Guardian of our soul is a lifelong challenge. Begin today to seek Him with all your heart.
It is through prayer we grow in knowledge,
Of who You are and our need for You,
And by seeking Your mind, heart, and soul,
Discover Your wisdom in all that we do.
It is through prayer we gain an intimac
No earthly source can take away,
And a sense of strength and power,
That sustains us day by day.
It is through prayer we learn Your will, O Lord,
As we grow in the knowledge of Your ways,
And these reminders of Your blessings,
Fills our hearts with grateful praise.
It is through prayer we discern those areas
Where we need Your healing touch and care,
And see how You have worked for good,
Bringing fruit from our times in prayer.
From Reflections on Prayer, © 2018, Doris Haver Rouse.