I’ve never been deep-sea diving or deep-sea fishing, but did (on one occasion) have the privilege of experiencing diving. The equipment that you must wear is jolly heavy, but amazingly enough, once you’re in the water, it does not feel heavy at all.
For me, this is such a lovely example of going deeper with Jesus. It might feel like it’s a heavy thing to do, and a big load to carry, but once you start spending time with Him, everything becomes lighter and more beautiful than you can imagine.
WHY WE DON’T GO DEEPER IN PRAYER
Let us look at some of the reasons (you can add a few if they come to mind):
• I will need to leave my comfort zone (what’s your comfort zone?)
• I might have to change
• I will seem different
• I might have to give up something (what might this be?)
• God might not like what He sees
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DO GO DEEPER IN PRAYER?
Luke 5: 4-11 (NIV):
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So, they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
I am sure you have heard several talks about this passage. But let’s have a look at our previous list and compare that with what Peter did here.
• I will need to leave my comfort zone (Peter may have said to himself, “I know what I’m doing – you, Jesus, know nothing about fishing!”)
• I might have to change (Peter may have responded, “I have to humble myself, against my better knowledge, and do what you’ve asked.”)
• I will seem different (Peter may have said, “The other fisherman are going to think I am crazy!”)
• I might have to give up something (Peter may have exclaimed, “All I want to do is go to sleep – now you ask me this!”)
I must make a confession: as I was preparing this, and as I was re-reading through it, I knew that some of these statements belonged to me. Let us be honest here for a moment. It is difficult going deeper with Jesus – spending time in prayer is difficult for us.
Let me explain: we’ve had a very early morning meeting, and there is another meeting in the evening. I am tired and my bed (which I can see) is right there, but in the back of my head, I know that I have not spent time with the Lord, and I really should be doing this if I want to go deeper with Him. Bed, which I can see, or Lord, whom I cannot see? Hopefully, I am not the only one who thinks like this. Honestly, though, I know that spending time with the Lord is going to be far more beneficial in the long run, than the temporary snooze.
This quote from Martin Luther challenges me every time I read it (and sometimes I try and forget it). When once asked what his plans were for the following day, he answered, ”Work, work, from early until late. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”
How is that for a wonderful challenge?
HOW DO I GO DEEPER IN PRAYER?
My gran used to sing to me “Read your Bible, pray every day, pray every day, pray every day; Read your Bible, pray every day and you’ll grow, grow, grow; Yes you’ll grow, grow, grow. (Composer and writer unknown).
Now we all know this is true and, yet, somehow, we battle to get it right.
We know Jesus was a man of prayer. Look at the following verses (NIV):
Matthew 14:23 – “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone…”
Matt 26:36 - “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’”
Matt 26:39 - “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’.”
Matt 26:42 – “He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.’”
Matt 26:44 - “So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.”
Mark 1:35 - “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
Some more verses for us to look at: Mark 6:46, Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12, Luke 9:18.
From these verses and quite a few more, you can see that Jesus was a man of prayer. If He needed to spend so much time in prayer, surely we can see how important it is for us to be spending that time in prayer.
Folks, if you have the blessing of technology, you can download a Bible app, which will give you Bible plans, read the whole Bible in one-year plans, and prayer plans. There is so much material to assist us in this.
One of the scriptures that I hope never to be said of me is as follows:
Hebrews 5:12-6:1 (NIV):
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God….”
Paul scolded the Hebrew Christians for remaining shallow believers and not growing deeper in their Christian experience. They remained superficial believers. He challenges them to go on to maturity. Christ calls us to go deeper with Him, where greater riches and service lie, and stop wading in the shallows.
Know that we have this promise of God Himself, that we read in Jeremiah.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
We should know the preceding verses, which are quoted so often: “If my people, who are called...” The people were in exile at the time and, yet, this is what God promises them: seek Me and you will find Me.
There truly is no downside to going deeper, and spending time in prayer. As the saying goes: “The benefits are out of THIS world.”
Women of Reverence welcomes Nadine Judge as the contributor for this month.
Nadine Judge is a wife and mom to two sons and a daughter. She is blessed with a grandchild. Together with her husband, they are Lead Pastors at Venture Church, in Randburg Johannesburg. She is a Leadership Coach, Speaker and Bible Teacher.