A Life of Continual Communion Through Unceasing Prayer
While praying for a friend, I saw she needed God’s peace and rest and I felt led to write her a letter to encourage her. As I wrote, I received a revelation about contemplative/ interior prayer that I would like to share with you. I discovered a life of continual experience of and communion with God, where the refreshing my friend needed can always be found!
The letter is below. It’s kind of lengthy, but fairly practical and I know it will be helpful if you want to live in a place of continual experience of God and His love.
Letter to a Tired and Troubled Friend
I wanted to let you know what the Father showed me for you and give you a couple of verses specifically regarding prayer and experiencing God more deeply. I believe this letter will be helpful to you as it is full of practical insights I’ve gleaned through years of prayer and observation. But, you don’t have to believe a lick of it. Test it for yourself. Go to God and ask Him about it, and trust Him!
I want to share three ways you can commune with God more effectively
- Meet God in the secret place of your heart. Turn to the Lord ‘within.‘ (Matthew 6:6; Colossians 1:27). This has revolutionized my life! My prayer life is honestly so much better now that I meet God consistently in this way. Saint Augustine said, as one who already knew Jesus, “I wasted many years of prayer searching for God without before I realized He was within.”
- It’s in our hearts that the Lord gives us intimate, experiential knowledge of His glory – who He is – as we meet Christ there. “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
- Embrace Prayer of the Quiet / Heart. This has been widely practiced by saints of God across centuries. This prayer is described in Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Prayer of the Quiet / Heart
As soon as you start to pray or talk or commune, a relational process begins. God is not slow to answer and He brings up stuff that is important to you so you don’t have to bear it. For example, He will remind you of little things that you may consider your mind is wandering. But, He’s immensely practical and so graciously helpful. Just have a pen handy and write those things down for afterwards and entrust them to His care and the empowerment of His grace. It’s honoring to him, and helpful for you!
Know this: the righteous live by the faith of God, what He believes. All of life is meant to be lived by grace. Work. Marriage. Friendships. Raising children. Exercise! Anything, you name it, is meant to be lived in and experienced by the propelling influence of grace. Salvation encompasses the totality of life, and it is not a work! It is the gift of God, so that no one may boast except in Him who has done and does it for us!
The new creation is in Eden and Psalm 23. That’s what the Gospel restores us to! Intimate communion with God! We needlessly take upon ourselves so many burdens that we are not meant to bear. Our Father is not a hard taskmaster. He leads us into the path of righteousness. He feeds us in green pastures. He makes us lie down by quiet waters. He restores our souls. He protects us and gives us a feast in the presence of our enemies.
Prayer of the Quiet / Heart is casting the cares of the day onto the Lord. To make this extremely practical, think of this as familiarly sharing your day with your spouse / best friend / roommate. Once that’s done, you’ll typically feel a sense of release or rest knowing you’ve got it off your chest and have been heard and known.
Lots of people stop there. But, this is just the beginning, and where prayer becomes even better. The second part, of Prayer of the Quiet/ Heart is found in verse 7 – “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in your union with Christ Jesus.” This is what I really want to talk about for you. This is where you’ll really feel that needed rest, and deeper connection.
Find God’s Peace and Experience His Joy
After your experiential connection is reestablished with the Lord (think of this as your emotional and personal connection; there are no walls up, everything is made known, and there is total vulnerability and trust. You’re on the same page, completely and the Lord begins to fill you with his love and peace. This is where we begin to enter into rest and experience the refreshing the comes from His manifest presence. (Acts 3:20).
Think of this like cuddling with Daddy, just enjoying being together. No words necessary. Just enjoying presence. You might see faces here. Just ask God what He wants for them, and say ‘Amen.’ It’s that simple. This is where I pray for people. The Lord brings people to my attention that are on His heart, and I say “Yes and Amen” to what He wants for them, and sometimes communicate it to let them know they are known and loved by Him, like this letter.
There are several more stages of prayer after this, but practicing the Prayer of Quiet – a still, affectionate attention to the Lord in your heart is the gateway to a life of unceasing prayer and communion (they become almost the same thing) with God, providing extraordinary fulfillment and rest – all you are meant to have and live out of, not for. This is God’s explicit will: “Enter my rest.”
If you start this type of prayer you’ll find you can begin to practice it everywhere, all the time, and it is most helpful in your daily life, because you are continually loving Him and receiving grace from Him for your daily tasks. Also pray, “Lord, let me become more aware of your presence” and you will begin to feel God Himself warming within your chest (where Christ is seated on your heart) and out of your belly will flow rivers of living water.
Perhaps a weighty presence may start to form on you. Put all your focus there on that place where the warming is. That feeling is God Himself. Just remain there for 15 to 20 minutes as friends. This really is prayer. You don’t have to say anything, just learn to be with the Lord and enjoy Him. This stage of prayer is simultaneously about learning to let go of the ‘have to’s’ and learning to enjoy simply being with God without obligation to do anything. He’s sure enjoying being with you.
If you open this door of prayer / communion with Jesus, you must allow yourself to experience joy and happiness, especially when and where you may consider it inappropriate because there in that place, joy and hope and gladness are actually the most appropriate! It is a living display of faith and expectation and hope in God to work all things for good for us and His purposes.
Isaiah says, “He will make us joyful in his house of prayer.” You’re his house. As you turn your heart to Him in prayer you will begin to experience “joy inexpressible and full of glory.” How this joy wells up within you is superbly natural, because it is a normal part of our nature that Jesus has restored. Not experiencing this is actually abnormal. Our conception of what we call the “world,” or reality, is upside down. The Kingdom of God is the one right side up, and that’s the one we live in. It is not vice versa.
Turn your heart to Him, become aware of His presence within you, and you’ll simply begin to experience this truth from within: “You lead me in the path of righteousness. In your presence is fullness of joy and at your right hand are overflowing pleasures evermore.”