Casey Ingold’s sermon, Covenant Baptist Church, November 14, 2010
1 John 5:20
Today Casey spoke to us about our relationship with God. Connecting with God means that we have a real relationship with Him. Amazingly, God wants to be with us and have fellowship with each of us as individuals. This means that when we ignore Him He is actually disappointed and grieved. In John 17:24, Jesus prays this prayer for you and for me:
Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
Jesus wants us to be with Him. Throughout the Bible, the emphasis is on this relationship with God. He has called us into fellowship with him. (1 Corinthians 1:9) But what does this mean in a practical sense? How do I have fellowship with God?
Prayer and the Word of God are the avenues God has provided for us to fellowship with Him.
Casey made it clear that real prayer goes beyond simply asking God for things. After all, we wouldn’t have much of a relationship with our friends and family if it were based only on our asking them to do things for us. Prayer is just being with God, meditating on who He is, expressing our honest feelings, sharing our concerns and joys. It is just like any relationship with a person because God is a person.
Larry Crabb, the author of The PAPA Prayer has stated,
Relational prayer has a higher end in view than a specific blessing desired for our comfort. Relational prayer aims toward knowing God better, bringing Him pleasure by trusting His love in any circumstance, and becoming more like Jesus who “always pleased the Father.” Relational prayer must be the foundation and framework for all petitionary prayer.
Try meditating on these passages as a way to move into more relational prayer. What do they tell you about whom God is? What do they say about you? Do they bring to mind things you want to tell God about your love for Him or your fear of Him?
- Psalm 121
- Psalm 139
- Psalm 103
- Habakkuk (the whole book, especially 3:16-19)
- Mark 3:14
- Mark 5:21-43
It’s important to spend as much time listening to God as we do talking. Sometimes, as we meditate on God, we are silenced before Him. There is nothing for us to do but to simply be in His presence, listening for His voice. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10a)
One of the best books on relational prayer is The PAPA Prayer, by Larry Crabb. Crabb uses the word “papa” as an acrostic, as shown below, to guide us into a deeper, more relational kind of prayer life.
P – Present yourself to God
The first step in the Papa prayer is presenting yourself to God, not in how you think that you should be, but in how you really are, authentically. Crabb suggests that you make a pattern of looking at where you are, to your very core, and telling God just that without holding anything back. You are to find your “red dot” (like you find on those maps in the Mall, “you are here”)– the exact point that you are at that very moment.
A – Attend to your present picture of God
Many of us grow up picturing God in an inaccurate manner, perhaps as a buddy or a stern father. It is important to unpack how you are thinking of God and then correct it with Scripture. Crabb states: “When we see Jesus as He really is, today, right now, we don’t casually pray … Instead, we’re silenced. We dare not speak till spoken to.”
P – Purge ourselves of anything that separates us from God
At this point, we need to clear out anything that is blocking our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We should see how we can be obsessed with ourselves when we should be with God.
A – Approach God
Then we are free to approach God and allow Him to fill all of our empty places.
[Taken from a review in CBN.com, by Amy Mozombite]
Reading The PAPA Prayer, and putting the above approach into practice, has the potential to enrich your prayer life by giving you a practical approach to relational prayer.