Communicating With God As Friends
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Prayer is talking to God for the purpose of developing a loving relationship with Him. As such, prayer should strive to attain a relationship that is bold, intimate, trusting, loving and personal. We develop a relationship without fear which is not based on greed or need.
There are at least four formal occasions when we make personal contact with God.

The Permanent Sanctuary
Prayer is the form of communication that has been established between humans and God. In the new earth there will be no sanctuary building because God Himself will be there, but face to face communication with God will exist. The earth becomes the place of the sanctuary of God because God's permanent presence here represents the best and most permanent opportunity for close and intimate communication. Each section of the sanctuary repesents different phases in time as we get closer to the kingdom of God and face to face communication.

The World to Come After the CrossCrucifixion Before the Cross
Column Column Column
Column Column East Gate Column Column
Column Column Column
Inner Tabernacle Outer Tabernacle Outer Court
PraisePrayerCommunion, Bible Study BaptismSurrenderRepent
Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the covenant. The Throne of God. It contained the Ten Commandments, a jar of manna and Aaron's walking stick
Second Veil

Second Veil

Second Veil

Second Veil

Golden Incense Altar
Incense Altar. Prayers were said here.
Second Veil

Second Veil

Second Veil

Second Veil
Table of Shewbread
Table of shewbread. Had the food and drink offering. There were twelve loaves of bread arranged in two stacks of six.
Menorah. This gave light to the sanctuary.
First Veil

First Veil

First Veil

First Veil

First Veil

Laver. The priests washed here before entering the Holy Place.
Altar of Sacrifice
Altar of Sacrifice. The animal was killed here by the sinner.
High Priest
Most Holy Place Holy Place Outer Court
Glorification (Father) Sanctification (Holy Spirit) Justification (Jesus Christ)
Speak to the Rock Arrow Release the Water Arrow Strike the Rock

The Covenant Of Prayer
When sin came, direct face to face communication with God ceased. Only prayer and the Sabbath and the intercessory symbols of the sanctuary remained. The Sabbath held within it the promise of a future time of rest when God would again come to us in person and begin the face to face communication again. But until that time comes, God must work to break down the barriers to communication by eliminating those things that separate us from God. He must pay the penalty for our sin and He must separate us from our sins.
Sin Cross Crucifixion Prayer PrayerLatter Rain Holy Spirit Eternal Life
Wilderness Strike The Rock Speak to the Rock Springs of Living Water
Death Thirst Blood Water Forgiveness CleansingSacrifice Fruit of the Spirit Gift of the Spirit
During the exodus God arranged a demonstration to show them how He would cleanse them.

How To Pray
There are some basic requirements of prayer. Praying was not intended to be a divine shopping list with God as Santa Claus with a giant gift dispensing machine. We pray with confidence to God based on what we know about Him and His power to deliver. He has introduced Himself to us in the first four commandments and in Jesus.

  1. Believe God (Have Faith). You must have faith. You must believe that God exists and that He hears you when you are sincere. Believing demonstrates that you are not suspicious of God. It indicates trust. You must trust in the good character of God and in His absolute, undying love for you. Only a good relationship can build this level of trust.
    And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11: 6)
    For most people faith is usually reduced to a definition that centers on the objects of our desires. Faith is empathy with God. Sympathy relies on understanding what others are feeling based on your similar experience. Empathy can understand what others are feeling based only on their testimony alone. It is the understanding that sustains your hope when your God is dying like a criminal, mocked, ridiculed and powerless. It allows you to cling to the promises of God, unwavering when you are being mocked, ridiculed and slaughtered. While trust might make you cling to hope until the last moment. Faith is the state of mind that takes you beyond the reality of a shattered hope in that final moment.
    It is faith that will take a leap and engineer a belief in the resurrection, while trust dies with death.

    Levels Of Faith. Once it is established that you are operating on the basis of faith, you will discover different levels of faith. We will use Abraham's experience to demonstrate.
    Presumption. When God does not answer and you are left holding the bag in the midst of disaster, people begin to question whether or not you were really doing your own will and went ahead because of presumption. This is the proud attitude that forges ahead assuming that God must help. We have several issues here. We cannot judge the will of God based on current outcomes. After all, how often does God tell you His will through reliable daily personal instruction, visible contact, a voice or a feeling and that is 100% accurate every time? The truth is, we do not know what is the will of God except by what is written in the law. I challenge anyone to tell me a universally reliable fool-proof, biblical method which determines what is the will of God in every action taken. The truth is that we judge the will of God by successful outcomes. Success is measured in culturally acceptable tokens.
    So, what is presumption? Real presumption occurs when we choose to do reckless actions to test God. Satan tried to tempt Jesus to test God by throwing Himself over a cliff as he appealed to Promise Theology.
    Kill Yourself. God Promises to Save You. Then the devil took Him to the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw yourself down for it is written: He will command His angels concerning You and on their hands they will bear You uo, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone". (Matthew 4: 5-6)

    Jesus answered with the rationale that condemns the basis of presumption.
    Jesus said to him, "on the other hand, it is written, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test". (Matthew 4: 7)
    Both faith and presumption rely on the promises of God.
    » Faith. It relies on the promises of God to assist in doing His will.
    » Presumption. It relies on the promises of God to get us out of trouble that we deliberately create.
  2. Ask God (Pray). He exists. Do not turn to another source for help, otherwise they are your graven images or substitutes for God. Simply say what you need, even though God knows what you need. He did not die for us to abandon us. He came to bring hope and to form a family relationship with us.
    Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
    If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
    (Matthew 7: 7,11)
    And all things you ask in prayer believing, you will receive. (Matthew 21: 22)
    There are some prerequisites for those who are given these broad guarantees.
  3. Only In the Name Of God. We must ask God and trust in His authority. And our requests must glorify God. Do not trust in others.
    Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14: 13)
    We all say the words "in Jesus name" like a formula to use for a guaranteed hearing by God or as the signature of a wealthy cosigner on a contract. But we can also pray in the name of the Father. So praying in the name of God means much more than a divine recommendation.
    In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. (John 16: 26-27) So, the Father also loves us so we can ask Him directly! Ask boldly because He wants no barriers between us.
  4. Wait (Rest). If you love Him, if you trust Him, if you believe Him you will wait for Him. Even if it takes forever.
    Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him ... (Psalm 37: 7)
    Who is among you that fears the Lord, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. (Isaiah 50: 10)
  5. Covenant Intercessory Forgiveness (Elijah Message).
    This message is a promise. We know that this message must mean that we can turn the heart of God towards the people and they will turn to God. This was fulfilled by John the Baptist (Luke 1: 16-17) and it will be in the future.
    The Elijah Message. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4: 6)
    How is it possible that we can do that when God loves them more, yearns for them and can even give repentance, even to those that oppose Him?
    God Instructs The Rebellious. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; (2 Timothy 2: 25)

    » Other Intercessors. Humans acted like intercessors, modeling God, using His character and promises and repenting on their behalf and asking for forgiveness not even excusing themselves to become one of them in guilt.
    Stephen asked for forgiveness for wrongs done to him (Acts 7: 59-60), others for sins done by others. Can never imagine how we could understand praying INSTEAD OF them FOR them, until we model what the Holy Spirit does. Even we cannot pray, so the Holy Spirit prays for us.
    » Interceding For Our Brothers. Sinners do not know how to pray, some see no need of prayer or believe in God. While the enemy is accusing them, we need to be their advocates in the model of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. It is not that we stir God to have compassion for them, but if they will not repent we can ask God to grant them repentance on their behalf because this must be a choice by humans. As a human who is one like them, we have a right to plead for them. We have to plead for them. This is what turns the heart of the Father, God to the children. It gives Him the authority to interfere even when it is not their choice. Then, as God melts their heart, then their hearts are turned towards God by choice.
    Why is this allowed?
    When the final judgment occurs and either Satan or the wicked claim that they were forced to submit to God, then God can say that one of us, a former sinner, acting like a parent to an infant child who is incapable of recognizing or seeking help, intercedes for us. This is entirely different from Catholic priests who urge people not to confess to God but to priests and through Mary because God does not want to hear us. The truth is that God will use every legitimate excuse to save us, even Himself becoming one of us to submit to torture and death by His enemies. The added testimony that God has through us is that while Satan can claim that Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit used the power of God to be victorious or to override our will, God has humans who can speak up for Him We are His witnessess.
  6. The Example Of Jesus. His prayers were from the heart and full of emotion.
    In the days of His Flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. (Hebrews 5: 7)

The Objects Of Our Desire
Physical NeedsMental Needs Spiritual Needs
Excess Basic Needs Latter Rain Holy Spirit
Alcohol Romance Things Wealth Power Rain Sun Fruit Home LoveForgiveness Fruit Fruit Gift GiftLife
Lust of the FleshLust of the Eyes Pride of Life Rain Sun Food Home Righteousness PowerHeaven
ExcessAbundant Life "All These Things" Kingdom of God and His Righteousness
Our needs cover a wide range of possibilities.

The Will Of God
We must pray according to the will of God. The Holy Spirit helps us with this (Romans 8: 27). But what is the will of God?
What career should I choose? Should I marry this person or that one? While we may be uncertain about the will of God for certain personal choices, there are certain things that we know that God always desires.

The Promises Of God
Many people use the promises of God as an indicator of the kinds of things for which we can pray. However, sometimes promises appear to function as agreements that we use in a legal tit for tat with God. We appear to perform certain acts for the benefits that we will receive not for the reasons for the actions. For example, many people pay tithe or "sow a seed" just to get the promised blessing. Lost in this act is that the tithe really belongs to God and keeping it would be theft. We give to get. We do not give because we love or because we believe in God's plans.

The Promised Suffering Of Ihe Righteous
The state of suffering appears to impugn all the rosy promises of God. Some people believe that Christians will never suffer long because God will immediately come to their rescue. They teach that suffering is a sign that one is outside the will of God. They have been cursed. But the Bible teaches that suffering will come because we are righteous.

Satan hates those who follow Christ, so we will also have to suffer. Just as God could not shield Christ from this suffering, He cannot shield us. But we suffer because Satan has attacked us, not because we torture ourselves believing that suffering has merits. Jesus tried to avoid it. We should do the same. The suffering that God ordained is one of sacrifice for the kingdom and courage under the constant assault of Satan it is not self imposed sado-masochism.

The one who is suffering has some common experiences. They have to wait. They have no answers to prayer. All the promises of God seem to be empty, distant realities. They are forced to cling to God through spiritual means because the physical evidence has been missing for a very long time. They are forced to rely on the relationship and knowledge of the character of God. So, if you realize that you are suffering because of the Gospel, remember these things.

Fasting ("Self Denial") And Prayer
Prayer is always linked with fasting. Unfortunately, fasting is linked with denial of food and water. But these actions are merely a symbol of the true self denial that God requires. Fasting is a symbol of the suffering that we choose to take on to help God in the Plan of Salvation.
When I wept in my soul with fasting, it became my reproach. (Psalm 69: 10)
Jesus called fasting "weeping in the soul". This is a physical expression of sorrow or loss by our spiritual nature. Take up your cross, deny yourself if that is what it takes to help the poor, homeless, helpless and exploited.
Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house. When you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh. (Isaiah 58: 6-7)
Fasting Physical Spiritual
Cross Hungry Feed Bread of Life
Cup Thirsty Drink Water of Life
Robe Naked ClothesRighteousness
Home Homeless Invitation Home
Exodus Sick Visit Heal
Cut Prison
FreedomBreak bonds of sin
Love Rejected Sacrifice Love

We will be judged by our self denial that extends not only to our loved ones but to our enemies. We must do the physical and spiritual works of the good Shepherd, who loved us so much that He died for us when we were His enemies.
Then the King will say to those on His right, "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me."
The King will answer and say to them, "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me."
(Matthew 25: 34-36, 40)
But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, And if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. (Romans 12: 20)
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. (Proverbs 25: 21)
But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. (Luke 6: 27)
Fast from the physical so that you can be a glutton with the spiritual. For those who do not have spiritual gifts yet, you can show your faithfulness and the love of God by helping others with these physical needs.
Think about it, just as the blood of bulls and goats cannot forgive sin, abstaining from food and drink for several days cannot give you the power to work miracles or receive answers. This fasting is only a symbol of the larger fasting which you are doing. God responds to you on the basis of who you already are in relation to Him, not how hungry your belly is. But when you hunger and thirst after righteousness and unity with God and demonstrate that by self denial to do what pleases Him and are filled with compassion by what hurts Him so that you are moved to your belly with a similar love and compassion to give your all, then you have fasted the fast that matters.

Casting out Demons. What is the fasting that controls demons?
Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. (John 12: 31)
I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. (John 14: 30)
Demons can only take possession when they find something in you that is part of them or not attached to God. You must empty yourself of all worldly desires and fears and fill yourself with the knowledge and power of the Holy Spirit of God.

Answers To Prayer
Let's face it. The main reason why we pray is to get a quick, positive answer. Logically, these are possible answers.

When There Are No Answers
Sometimes there are no answers even when we meet all the requirements. And the answer may be that we are on display in the universe as they see how we react to adversity.
For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated and are homeless. (1 Corinthians 4: 9, 11).

Abuse of Prayer And The Promises Of God
Abuse of prayer occurs because we either do not desire a relationship with God or do not believe that we can have a relationship with God or we do not trust God. Every day we hurt His feelings by believing and acting as if He were a monster to fear, or a stern disciplinarian to avoid or a disinterested and reluctant Father who must be begged, or a miser who makes promises that He does not intend to keep.

Prosperity Pimps
Show Me The Money!
Prosperity ministry is merely a self-help, positive thinking business whose consumers are the people of faith.
I am convinced that they do not believe in God any more than I believe that the tooth fairy stalks the street at night with coins.
If God is your anchor, then they will use Him as their hook to steer your thinking towards their product. Their product is selling hope without consequences. They make the promises of God the guarantor and your "lack of faith" as the scapegoat.
So sue God or blame yourself, but send me the seed money of faith.
The Men And Women Of Faith
It seems that the more God places His trust and approval in you, the more He risks not responding to your prayers. Babies in the faith, or those who need to see more immediate and frequent response from God appear to have more response from God. However, the great friends of God appear to be those whom He asks to wait for decades for answers to prayer. At every turn they appear to suffer neglect and abandonment. Even though they question their assumptions and in some cases try to do what seems reasonable, they eventually turn back from their own disastrous plans to wait on God.
In their defense I will say that turning to their own plans may simply not be an attempt to be disobedient or to have their own way. It may be an attempt to make sense out of what appears illogical. Waiting for decades without any response from God makes you question your initial experience and sanity. Often, those around you are not helpful. They are the constant, nagging voice of the collective reasoning which is in conflict with God. It takes great effort to cling to your initial beliefs and wait on God despite all the signs and people that say that this is irrational.
How can the prosperity ministries account for the fact that these were the lives praised by God?
As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. (James 5: 10)
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises ... (Hebrews 11: 13)
What? NEVER receiving the promises, yet believing? Only a true friend does that.

The Father is looking for worshippers who love Him and want to form a relationship with Him. Sometimes when He does not answer it is a test for you to see why you worship Him. Do you get angry, frustrated? Do you give up and seek others? Or do you wait for Him only? If you believed that He hears you and He is there only for your good, you will not try to construct your own answers or seek a way out for God to save face by attempting to create an answer through others.
To You, O Lord, I call; My rock, do not be deaf to me. For if You are silent to me, I will become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to you for help, When I lift up my hands towards your holy sanctuary. (Psalm 28: 1-2)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own answers.

Feeling The Encounter
Prayer is the only common solid encounter we have with God. Often, people want to feel something tangible and positive that verifies this encounter. In the process, we have developed many ways or many excuses for getting into a frame of mind that guarantees a "spiritual" environment. In this case, "spiritual" seems to be commonly redefined as an altered, feel-good mental state. In fact, the term spiritual merely means that its origin is from God.

The Model Of Prayer
Jesus gave us a simple model of prayer for our basic needs. Everyone can say this prayer.
The Lord's Prayer
(Matthew 6: 9-13)
Our Father, who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory
forever and ever.

Friends Forever. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. For such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. (John 4: 23)

Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18) Time: 100 minutes
Print: 20 pages
Copyright     First Created : April 15, 2007
Credits: The Bible and the Holy Spirit.
"Strike the Rock and Speak to the Rock". Pastor
Author: Laverna Patterson. Editor: Patterson (January 2008)
All images were created by Laverna Patterson and are the property of teachinghearts.