Luke 3:21 And as he was praying, heaven was opened.
We must not get away from the fact that Jesus prayed. Even with His intimacy with the Father and the Spirit He still needed times of consciously directing His attention to them. I never cease to be amazed at people who claim to be Christians and yet hardly ever pray. People complain about how God seems distant, but they too would experience heaven being open if they would just pray, in all sincerity and humility. We tend to make prayer all complicated and difficult, when it is really nothing more than children talking with their Father, just as Jesus did. We are not His only begotten Son, but we are certainly children by adoption, (Romans 8:15) and by the Holy Spirit we can call Him Daddy just as much as Jesus did. Anyone who is a parent knows that parents want honest communication with their children, and God is no exception. Many places in the Bible it exhorts us to pray, such as 2 Chronicles 7:14, and yet we tend to run from prayer, just as a rebellious teenager might run from open communication with their parents. How sad! God wants to bless us immeasurably, but we miss the vast majority of that when we fail to pray.
The closest I’ve gotten to heaven was during a time of prayer and worship with three brothers in the Lord. I felt such intense joy that I literally asked God to back off a touch, because one more drop and I was sure my body would be unable to handle it, and I knew He had more for me to do here. I have had other times of prayer when the communication was as simple and natural as a physical conversation, and times when I was more sure of the existence of God than I was of my own existence. Not every time of prayer is like that, but no time of prayer is without its blessings. That makes it all the more strange to me, and sad, that so few Christians, even, really seek God in prayer. I am not to look down on them or consider myself superior in any way, but I am to exhort them to receive the abundant blessings of God that are stored up for them. It bothers me that some people seem to be put off by my public prayers, saying, “I could never pray like that.” I am to make it clear that it is only by the grace of God that I am what I am, and that He loves them as much as He loves me.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Our readings have been on prayer for several months now, and You keep teaching me more. This trip has in several ways been a practicum in prayer, as You’ve allowed us to confront things that were beyond us except for Your help. Thank You. Help us apply the lessons You’ve taught us, both for our own sake and for the sake of the people around us, on this trip and after we return to Omura. May Shinsei no Sato be a praying people indeed, so that we may be fully available to You in every way, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!