In once smoggy cities there is fresh air to breathe. The worldwide shut down to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus has dramatically decreased pollution. For instance, for the first time in 30 years, people in northern India can see the Himalayan mountains from 100 miles away!
Even in coronavirus times of quarantines, stay-at-home, and social distancing, we can say with the Psalmist, “You brought me out into a spacious place!” (Psalm 18:19). We can breathe fresh air by stepping outside in nature.
We can also breathe fresh air in prayer, Bible reading, soul talk with a friend, singing praise songs to God, or resting quietly in God’s presence.
As we said last week in our blog on “Prayer: Our Hope in a Pandemic,” around the world Google searches on “prayer” have skyrocketed since Covid-19 hit. People are stuck at home, frustrated, depressed, bored stiff, or anxious and scared about the news reports.
But by praying to God we can break free—we can transcend our constricting circumstances.
“When we pray we enter the real world,” is how Dallas Willard describes it (The Divine Conspiracy, p. 254). In prayer, you participate in the Trinitarian universe where the heavens mingle with your embodied soul. Divine words and energies flow into you. The sovereign Lord moves close to bring you blessings, even in bad situations.
Most of us struggle with prayer. Probably because we make it too religious or complicated. In Dallas Willard’s definition, “Prayer is simply talking to God about what we are doing together” (The Divine Conspiracy, p. 243).
In Jesus’ model prayer in Luke 11 he teaches us how to pray. It’s “show and tell.” His disciples have been watching him pray and they see that it results in intimacy with God as “Papa,” compassion for everyone, brilliant wisdom, and miraculous healings. So they implore him, “Lord, teach us to pray!” (Luke 11:1).
We need to ask ourselves, Am I earnestly desiring Jesus’ help in my prayers?
Our Master passes onto his eager apprentices his personal prayer which includes making five kinds of requests to God for ourselves and others (Luke 11:2-4):
- To delight in God as our loving Father who is near and ready to help
- To submit to God’s kingdom rule, seeking his will in all our circumstances
- To trust our Father’s provision of all that we need today
- To receive God’s forgiveness of our sins
- To be protected by the Lord from bad things happening to us
When we pray with Jesus in these simple yet profound ways we break free of our restrictions and into the spaciousness of God’s great world. Anxiety, depression, and resentment dissipate as God’s peace, joy, and forgiveness come flowing in.
The freedom of prayer is that we’re not left to our own abilities to receive grace and power from above. We’re relying on the Holy Spirit within us who helps us to pray (Romans 8:26), along with the word of God and soul friends.
Listen to today’s SoulTalk: This season is creating limitations and distress. You may be feeling stuck or constricted while you remain at home and learn to minister in a new context. What’s also real is that we live in the kingdom of God, which is spacious–and open to you! Prayer creates an opportunity for us to enjoy that space, coming like a child to God, and experiencing him in fresh ways. Be inspired and encouraged to experiment with God through prayer in this heartfelt episode.