Despite the devil’s best efforts to make prayer a convoluted mystery, Jesus kicks him to the curb with some wisdom we’d all be well advised to remember.
“Assuredly, I am saying to you, Unless you reverse your present trend of thought and become as the little children, in no case shall you enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1 WUEST-NT)
Greatness in God’s eyes doesn’t stack up because of our fabulous accomplishments. Quite the opposite. Prayer is humbling, not haughty. We come with empty hands ready to be filled.
“…anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:4 NLT)
There’s a lot we can draw from these statements of our Lord that will help us harness the power of prayer with simplicity, but there’s a particular trait I want to highlight here that I believe will help you explore more of God’s grace to pray.
Childlike curiosity will pay dividends if you choose to dump a “know-it-all” attitude and hungrily seek to learn the ways of God.
I want to jump over to Exodus again and draw out a few points. Let’s explore God’s redemptive frame to carry us out of Egypt’s worldly bondage into the promised land of joy-filled effective prayer.
The first account I’d like to highlight is Moses stumbling upon the burning bush.
The Burning Flame
There’s an instructive lesson tucked away here on the backside of the desert. The spirit of prayer is a flame that lights our hearts, but we need to acknowledge it and turn aside. No one has been assaulted by the Holy Ghost and forced to pray.
Moses is going about his daily business, tending the flock, in the backside of the desert when he sees an unusual sight:
“The Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, yet was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burned. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him…” (Exodus 3:2–4 AMP)
Curiosity led to an encounter with the Living God.
Friend, the hungry heart is a curious heart, a heart ready to turn aside and see what the Lord is doing and saying.
So many people, even believers, pass by the signs the Lord places in their path. Too busy to turn aside from their everyday natural lives they ignore the burning of their heart and continue their backside-desert life uninterrupted.
Prayer will always interrupt your normal. It requires a turning aside from the natural affairs of life and a curious questioning hungry to find out more and follow the flame. The supernatural Voice and nature of God will often break into your days if you’ll sensitise your heart to His presence.
Like John Wesley, you’ll feel your “heart strangely warmed”.
When that inviting supernatural flame of desire flickers in the periphery of your busyness will curosity cause you to draw aside?
I hope so.
What Is It?
Let me share another picture from Exodus.
Throughout the Scriptures, a recurring theme relating to the Word of God is the picture of fresh nourishing bread.
Jesus spoke of Himself as being the Bread from heaven:
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven” (John 6:51 KJV)
Here we have presence. God’s presence IS our strengtening and our sustenance. the one essential. Just as bread is the staple of a natural diet, so God’s presence is the foremost need for our spirit.
Elsewhere Jesus refers to the Word of God as bread:
“It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 KJV)
Here we have the place of speaking – the proceeding word.
Jesus’ reference to bread coming down from Heaven reaches all the way back to the wilderness journey of the Israelites. God supernaturally sustained His people for forty years sending food from the heavens every single day.
“…behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a fine, round and flake-like thing, as fine as hoarfrost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said one to another, Manna [What is it?]. For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.” (Exodus 16:14–15 AMP)
The people called this bread from Heaven, a picture of the words proceeding from God’s heart and mouth, “manna”, literally translated “What is it?”
Curiosity will always ask the question, “What is it?”
In prayer God speaks in many ways. Sometimes verbally, other times with a sense or inward prompting, sometimes with a picture or vision.
Often the images or impressions we receive don’t tell the full story. God the Holy Ghost leads us on, urging us to enter into conversation with Him.
“What is it, Lord? What does that mean? Tell me more.”
He calls you deeper into the revelations that He wants to reveal to your heart, but childlike curiosity is needed to discover the full extent of His wonders. He is always ready to expand on what He shows, and often I think He deliberately gives just a glimpse to see if our heart is indeed hungry to hear and follow Him.
Like the burning bush we must turn aside and incline our ear.
Like the manna-eating people of God we need to be feeding on God’s daily speaking, and ready to enter into curious conversation always asking, “What is it, Lord? Tell me more.”
Never underestimate the part that curiosity plays in prayer.
Prayer and relationship will become a continual feast of surprises if you keep your heart hungry and expectant.