A few months ago, I found myself contemplating the question: “What is prayer?” I was all cosy in my usual prayer space one morning, preparing to engage with YHWH, and suddenly found my voice mute, unable to release the words of praise and worship that were so earnestly tucked inside my heart.
At first I felt guilty. The weeks leading up to this appointed time had been astonishing. Intimate, liberating, and with YHWH’s presence so intense beside me. Thus, I was grateful.
I wanted to convey my thankfulness with fiery eloquence and not hold back – not when we were becoming so beautifully integrated into each other’s hearts. So I wanted this prayer to be extraordinary – unrestricted and holy – powerful beyond what I had ever prayed before.
But the words wouldn’t flow. They sounded hollow and as one walking on stilts. Until I finally conceded and asked the question: “What is prayer?”
I read a book on prayer once in which the author was defining prayer. The concept that awakened my soul to prayer the most at the time was that prayer ‘is being found.’
I had never visualised myself being found while praying, but rather, seeking to find – YHWH’s presence, His counsel, His instruction for too many things and His shalom. Also, to bow my being before Him to acknowledge Him as King!
I fell in love with the romance of being found. It invoked visions of the Lover seeking the soul, the Shepherd seeking the sheep and the Father, intent on knowing that His daughter is unscathed and guarded. It was this vision that petitioned to reply to me on this morning when I, again, sat pondering the essence and purpose of prayer.
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When I consider that prayer is to be found, I envisage YHWH, as King, on His throne of glories stacked into the highest of holies, surveying His Kingdom. I imagine Him watching, waiting – His hopefulness arising out of unabashed love and keenness to gather His servants, friends and offspring into the lavish welcome of His embrace. To gather the labourers in His vineyard and discuss with them the needs for a full harvest.
He hopes, and in this hoping He longs and yearns for the intimate, the eager and the willingness of hearts choosing His face above the many pressures in a world enshrouded in darkness. Choosing His Presence above all worldly pleasure and gain.
I imagine Him a King who has faith. After all, He is waiting for His sons and His daughters. These are the chosen, heirs to His Kingdom. And while He waits, He bestows favour. For many arrive. Many have come to the covenant feast of the King at first light.
But, many do not arrive.
This pains the King, for He knows them by name. He, alone, knows their struggles and their needs. He understands the workings of their hearts.
So, He calls to them. They do not answer. He sends His Messenger along the narrow path to find them and bring them to safety within the walls of His city. He hopes … He waits … for them to appear in the distance and draw near to His Presence, where He can hold them, comfort them, and whisper His Words of love into the innermost parts of their souls. These, His sons and daughters. These, the labourers in His Vineyard.
He waits for them to come and sit at His table and feast with Him at first light.
Thus, He waits … for them be found.