Passionate Prayer on a Practical Level
by Lynn Jacobs
(Nashville, Tennessee, USA)
I am a Christian life coach, writer, and conference speaker with over 20 years of ministry, professional, and legal experience. I have founded or been involved in various ministries over the years, including spiritual direction, hospital chaplaincy, women's ministries, and single adults ministries. I have recently authored two inspirational books and two eBooks, and my articles have been published in print and online magazines and journals. My passion for ministry is summed up in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.
I currently live in Tennessee with my husband, two children, and a cat. When I'm not coaching or writing, I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, reading, studying, and antiquing.
"My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." (Ps. 84:2, NIV)
God is a passionate God, and, since we have been created in his image, we are passionate people and our prayer lives should reflect that. Each day should bring a passionate encounter with the living God. But what does that look like?
When most people hear the word passion, they envision a wild couple crazy in love, but what does passionate really mean? One common definition is "capable of expressing intense feeling; ardent." Ardent is an interesting word, and it means "fiery, hot; characterized by warmth of feeling typically expressed in eager zealous support or activity." An encounter is simply a face-to-face meeting with someone.
So, a passionate encounter with God would be to eagerly, and with a burning zeal, come "face to face" with him every day!
From the very beginning, God created humans to not only worship him but to fellowship with him. God is relational, and we have been created as relational beings. God had a relationship with the first couple in the Garden of Eden. He had enjoyed a relationship with Noah, as Genesis 6:9 tells us that Noah "walked with God." Abraham also enjoyed a relationship with God and had many encounters with him, some easier than others. The promise of fathering a nation was exciting news (Gen. 12), but the request to sacrifice his own son on an altar was quite disheartening to Abraham, until God moved mightily by providing the needed sacrifice to take Isaac's place (Gen. 22). And Moses, well, it was written in Exodus 33 that the Lord spoke to him "as a man speaks with his friend."
There were also women in the Bible who had passionate encounters with God. Though her relationship with the Lord is not mentioned in detail, we can assume with little doubt that the prophetess Deborah had numerous encounters with God so that she was able to give the proper orders that led to victory against Jabin's army, as the Bible records in Judges 4. Priscilla, along with her husband Aquila, led a home church group and mentored a young man named Apollos who later became an anointed evangelist (Acts 18). If we could take a peek inside of their home as they were preparing to lead their group, we would probably have witnessed a mighty prayer meeting with God. We do see a beautiful encounter taking place in the home of two special friends of Jesus. While Martha was busy handling dinner arrangements, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus having a spiritual encounter with the very Son of God (Luke 10:38-42). And, the Mary who perhaps had the closest encounter with Jesus was his mother when the Holy Spirit planted the saving seed of Jesus Christ within her womb.
When we pray, that same Holy Spirit can plant Jesus within our hearts if we are open to receiving him. We can have personal ministries just as dynamic as that of Priscilla, even though our mentoring may take place over a cup of coffee with a neighbor or a friend instead of with a soon-to-be ministry leader. After passionate encounters with God, we can be imparted with wisdom and authority just as Deborah was. But, most excellent of all, is to be as close to God as Moses was so that God calls each of us his friend.
Questions it brought to my mind...
After Moses' encounters with God, his face was so radiant that the Israelites could not even look upon him (Ex. 34:30). Do you have that same radiance? Have you had the kind of passionate encounter with God that Moses had? If you have, that's wonderful! But if not, take a few moments to reflect on your relationship with God. If it isn't all it should be, ask yourself what may be hindering you. Seek God's wisdom, and allow his Spirit to pull you close to himself.
I hope you'll join me for the next three parts of this series as I reveal how we all can have a daily encounter with the Lord, and how it can fit beautifully within our busy schedules.
My closing prayer...
Father, you are the one who creates and sustains everything by your word. Please create within my heart a passion and zeal that burns for you like I have never had before. I pray for an encounter with you that leaves me radiant, reflecting your light at it shines through me for others to see your glory. Let me be a radiant witness like Moses was when he came down from Mt. Sinai after speaking with you. But, above all, allow our encounters to draw me closer to you, to know you more intimately, so that I can serve you more effectively. Amen.
"I've always longed to live in a place like this, Always dreamed of a room in your house, where I could sing for joy to God-alive!" (Ps. 84:2, MSG)