Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians to 'Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.' (5:16-18). How does one live in a constant state of prayer? Does prayer take on only one form, or do we sometimes confuse what constitutes 'real' prayer? Leah Bulfin, from City campus, reflects on her prayer walk.
I recently read a blog by the Reverend Billy Graham titled “Prayer is a conversation”
I love this so much because it has been the revelation and journey of my life for the past 2 years.
I have been a Christian and attended Church all my life. I grew up in a home where my parents were (are) two strong, faith filled Pastors and our lives revolved around God and Church. So it is not surprising that I have a very strong and deep faith in God.
Yet despite all this, it wasn’t until 2 years ago that I encountered God in the deepest, most life changing way. I have had an experience with Him that has totally transformed every part of my life.
About two years ago I found myself with a longing in my heart to be closer to God. I found that my prayer life had become nothing more than what I describe as giving God a grocery list of everything I wanted Him to do for me. Deep in my heart I was longing for more of Him than that.
I have had many times in my life where I have experienced the soul filling and refreshing presence of God and I was longing to have that in my life on a daily basis.
I happened to be reading a book at the time that touched on the subject of meditation and I could see how refreshing this practice could be but at the same time knew how misguided the spiritual beliefs of traditional meditation are.
It was through these series of circumstances that God gave me the revelation that I could meditate – on Him – and with Him. And so that is what I began to do.
As part of my daily prayer time, I began the practice of getting up each morning and meditating on God, and with God. It is not about mantras or chakras or emptying the mind. Instead it is about what Psalm 46:10 says - being still and knowing God.
It is something that I have practiced on a daily basis since that time and the changes that have occurred in my life and family have been incredible.
My life is filled with a constant and unshakeable peace no matter the circumstance, things work out for good for me all the time, we have more-than-enough in every sense, areas of ministry and business have grown and prospered, life long dreams are beginning to be fulfilled, prayers are answered – sometimes even before I ask, doors open, the Holy Spirit is constantly speaking to me and changing me. He is constantly opening up areas for me to pray and bring healing and blessing to others.
However, all of this pales into insignificance compared to experiencing God in a far deeper way than I ever knew was possible. Words truly can not describe how wonderful He is – and I know I have only just scratched the surface.
One of the things I discovered through this journey is that meditation did not originate as a new age or eastern practice but it is something that was practiced right through the Bible and right through Christian history. It only disappeared as a common practice of Christian life in the last 200 hundred years or so.
I think the connotations that meditation has with eastern religion is what stops many people from just simply being still in his presence and hearing from him. I think it has made us feel that unless we are doing all the talking, it’s not really prayer. However, as Billy Graham says, prayer is a conversation. It is both talking to God and taking time to wait quietly to hear from Him too.
I am convinced that God is calling us back to the practice of taking time to wait on Him in his presence on a daily basis. He not only wants to hear our prayers but he wants us to rest in His presence and hear from Him, be refreshed and strengthened and changed by Him.
Since experiencing God in such a profound way I never feel “obliged” to pray. It is not a chore. I no longer think “I better make sure I have my prayer time today”. Instead, I can’t wait to get into His beautiful presence each day. I long for it. And I hope I have inspired you to spend some time today in the sweet, still presence of God. He is waiting to speak to you, refresh you, empower you, fix things in your world that need fixing and fill you with His amazing peace.
Leah Bulfin is a valued member of our City campus in Darlinghurst under the leadership of Ps Tim and Kirrily Lowe. Leah’s passion to wait on God and enjoy His presence compelled her to start her own blog. You can read it and follow her reflections here.
She is moved and inspired to encourage both those who already know Jesus to seek a deeper relationship with Him, and help those who don’t yet have such a relationship to encounter Him for the first time.
Leah is married to Jeff and together they are raising three handsome sons.
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