Do you ever find it difficult to pray? Do you ever sense a lack of heartfelt fellowship with God? I know that I do. And I’m sure that I’m not alone.
I believe that most of us experience some difficulty in entering into intimate fellowship with the Lord. We just don’t know how to spend quality time with Him. Some of our prayers may be more like “mailing letters to heaven.” So in this post I’ll address 14 key words that provide some crucial principles to enrich your fellowship with the Lord.
“Pray to Fellowship with Jesus”
These 14 words can all be found in a very helpful hymn—“Pray to Fellowship with Jesus”. It’s not only easy to sing, but it’s rich in spiritual experience. By praying over and applying the following key words of this hymn, you’ll find your fellowship with the Lord being uplifted to a higher level.
1. Spirit —“In the spirit seek His face”(s. 1) and “Learn to touch Him as the Spirit…” (s. 3) First, the proper organ for us to fellowship with God is our regenerated human spirit, the deepest part of our being (John 3:6). This is the unique location for us to fellowship with God. Second, the unique object of our worship is God who is Spirit. So we need to touch Him as the Spirit (4:24). The fundamental matter of worship is our spirit contacting the Spirit. (See the chart in my post, The Key to the Meaning of Life and the Meaning of the Universe.) We should pray, “Lord Jesus, I turn to my spirit right now to touch You as the Spirit.”
2. Seek—“In the spirit seek His face” (s. 1); “seeking Him in confidence” (s. 3)—it’s a matter of our heart. In Psalm 27 the Lord said, “Seek My face.” The psalmist replied, “To You my heart says, Your face, O Jehovah, will I seek.” (Psa. 27:8 ). We should make this our pray, “Lord, in my spirit I seek Your face.” The idiom—“in confidence”—means in a secret or private manner, not to be divulged to others. We need some secret seeking after the Lord, like the hidden root system of a plant. That’s where the supply for our Christian life comes from—hidden roots.
3. Ask—“ask and listen in His presence…” (s. 1)—We should also ask, not mainly for material needs and wants, but to fellowship with Him, to know Him, and to be filled with His Spirit. Simply pray, “Lord, I ask You to reveal Yourself more to me today. Lord, cleanse me and fill me with the Spirit. Grant me the grace I need for this day.”
4. Listen—“List’ning earnestly to Him; Be impressed with His intentions…” (s. 5). Have you ever considered that a proper prayer is not just to ask God to do things for you, but to listen to Him, to let Him initiate something within you? In this sense, the asking is a kind of inquiring of Him. You might ask, “Lord, what do you want me to pray for today? Shall I simply thank you?” Then you should be inwardly attentive to listen with your spirit.
When you’re with someone you really love, you can be content to simply listen, because you’re happy just to be in their presence. Hint #1: for a pleasant marriage life, learn to listen…the voice of experience. I’m endeavoring to learn this lesson both in married life and in my relationship with the Lord. It’s part of maturing…in both relationships.
5. Waiting—“waiting in the secret place” (s. 1). Our real secret place is our spirit. (See point 1 above with the chart referenced there.) In our spirit, we ask and listen in a condition of waiting. I’m afraid that most of us “microwave Americans” don’t know how to wait for anything. (At least, I confess I have a hard time waiting.) We expect the Lord to be like the internet, with instant answers. Sorry, the Lord is a living Person with His own thought, feeling and intention…and timing. He may know that if He gives us the instant answer we’re seeking, we’ll take the answer and run away. But He wants us to stay with Him longer so that He can infuse more of Himself into us…So He keeps us dependent. He is that kind of a Person.
6. Open—“Fully open from within” (s. 2). In order to be open, we need to empty ourselves, to be poor in spirit (Matt. 5:3). Otherwise, there is no room in us for the Lord. We’re occupied, full of our own thoughts and concerns. Some of our confessing to the Lord is just to exhale, to empty out—get the old “CO2 [ourselves] out of our spiritual lungs” so we make room to receive more fresh “O2” [the Spirit]. We should pray, “Lord, I open my spirit, and my heart to You right now.”
7. Beholding—“With thy face unveiled, beholding, single, pure and genuine” (s. 2). The apostle Paul said, “But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed…” (2 Cor. 3:18). This is like Moses on the mountain of God, spending time in God’s presence to be infused with God’s glory. This kind of “beholding” is in a condition of being single, pure and genuine. “Lord, make us those who are so single, pure and genuine that we can behold You with an unveiled face.”
8. Touch—“Learn to touch Him as the Spirit…” (s. 3).The woman with the hemorrhage came to to the Lord in faith. simply by touching His garment she was healed (Mark 5:24-34). We also need to touch Him in our spirit—not mainly for physical healing but for life-giving fellowship. The simplest way I know to touch the Lord is to call on His name, “Lord Jesus! Lord Jesus!” You may also want to read a booklet entitled A Simple Way to Touch the Lord. Follow the link to another hymn on touching the Lord.
9. Speaking—“speaking nothing in pretense” (s. 4). We need to stop all our pretentious prayers. Such prayers are just going through the motions and waste our time. It’s better to utter one sentence that’s from the heart, that you really mean. The Lord condemned the pretentious prayer of the Pharisee who was just making a show. But appraised the repenting prayer of the sinner who asked the Lord to be propitious to him” (Luke 18:9-14).
10. Sense—“Ask according to the spirit, praying by the inner sense.” (s. 4). We really need to learn to follow the inner sense in our spirit. I’m just a learner in this area myself. Our deepest part, our spirit, has three functions—conscience, fellowship and intuition. As we are entering into fellowship with the Lord, we need listen to our conscience for anything that we need to confess. We also need to follow our inner sense, our intuition (our direct sense of God) for what is on the Lord’s heart to pray.
11. Yielding—“Yielding to Him from within” (s. 5). Herein lies a price. The Lord knows the condition of our heart, and He will not open His heart to us beyond our willingness to “yield to Him from within.” He would be wasting His speaking, His anointing. Why would you tell someone something that’s on your heart, if you know that they are unwilling to receive it. “Lord, grant us a submissive will that is fully yielded to You.”
12. Bathing—“Bathing in His countenance” (s. 6). Bathing isn’t something quick. This requires that we linger in the shining of the Lord’s presence.
13. Saturated—“Saturated with His beauty” (s. 6). It’s good to pray, “Lord, saturate me more with Yourself in Your word today.”
14. Radiate—“Radiate His excellence” (s. 6). The result of spending such quality time with the Lord is that we, as His luminaries, radiate or reflect Him to others so they see His excellence in us.
“Lord, use these 14 words to uplift and enrich our fellowship with You so that we may be genuinely saturated with You and radiate Your excellence to all who we meet.”