This is Hans Scheil from the Finishing Well Podcast.
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And now, here's James. Prayer at its best can be a lot like talking to a friend. And that's what we're going to be talking about today on encouraging prayer. Yeah, Robbie, this is such an important topic because it's about so much more than, you know, Jesus is my buddy or God is my co-pilot. It's about real friendship, true intimacy that changes everything about our lives.
Wow. So where do we start with that? Well, Jesus said in John 15 and 15, greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. And of course, he's talking about what it would be for us if it crossed. And then he says, you are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servant because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I called you friends for everything that I learned from my Father I made known to you. And what's so important about that is that you see him welcoming us in, you know, to this life with him and drawing us close. And, you know, you can also see that obedience is a vital part of our friendship with him, but it's not what initially made us his friends. He chose to do that, to love us, even when we were far from him. But it's obedience that helps keep us close.
So, you know, we've got to keep building too. We've got to keep praying. Yeah, that makes me think of that old hymn, you know, what a friend we have in Jesus, you know, all our sins and grieves to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Oh, what peace we often forfeit.
Oh, what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. It's funny you mention that, because it brings back the memory when, you know, I was growing up and when I was in college, I was a first-while philosophy major and wanted to make everything far more complicated than it sometimes was. But my mom was the product of a generation that loved musicals, so it wasn't unusual for her to just sort of get this light in her eye and look at me and suddenly just, you know, burst into song. And that was one of the songs that she'd just launch into, you know, when she wanted to communicate some spiritual truth to me. And, of course, I'd cringe, you know, and, oh, it's not that simple, mom. But later, I realized how true to life that game was, because what happened was that, you know, looking at the history of it, I discovered that Joseph Spriggan, the man who wrote it, actually lost his bride.
She drowned in a lake the night before they were to be married, and he was there when her lifeless body was pulled from the lake. And, you know, it just makes so much, it gives so much meaning to those words, all our sins and griefs to bear, because you think about what Isaiah said, you know, that Jesus has borne our griefs and our sorrows. And for the suffering servant, you know, that he's taken our sins upon us, but it's also our griefs and our sorrows, all of that, Jesus wants to take that from us and be our friend.
But, man, I'll tell you, sometimes my mom would sure get to me with that. So, James, you know, how do you feel about that? Yeah, I mean, that's the beautiful thing about Jesus, you know, he has a way of meeting us at our worst. In Matthew 11, 19, he called himself a friend of tax collectors and sinners, and Matthew the tax collector never forgot that, right?
Of course not, yeah. You know, that is our friend, right? As you get to know Jesus, you feel that way, that he really does, you know, meet me as a car salesman at times, right? Yeah, I mean, that's the whole purpose of his coming to earth, is this relationship, you know, this sharing our heart with him. And so we realize that, we miss out on so much, and we need to look forward to him with that kind of closeness, because that's what he wants us to have. Right, so James, before we went on the air, you know, you were telling me about an experience that you had with God some years ago that really underscored how much God wants to share his heart with us.
Yeah, yeah, one night several years ago, when I was trying to spend more time talking to God throughout the day, I dreamt that I was in his presence all night long, because it was more than a dream. And words fail to describe it, but it was the happiest night of my life. I felt like I was in the presence of love, and light, and goodness personified, and even though I was aware of this throughout the night, I awakened refreshed as if I'd slept the whole night through. And it's so funny, because a couple of decades later, when I was buried in books for doctoral studies, I was sitting in bed reading in the memoirs of Jonathan Edwards, you know, the puritan genius and preacher, this account by his wife, and I practically shouted at my wife, there it is, she startled, there what is, there he is. And then I said something like, you know, you gotta hear this, something happened to Sarah Edwards.
And so I want to read to you what happened to her. These are her words, she said, that night, which was Thursday night, January 28, was the sweetest night I ever had in my life. I never before, for so long a time, enjoyed so much of the light, and rest, and sweetness of heaven in my soul, but without the least agitation of the body the whole time. The great part of the night, I lay awake, sometimes asleep, and sometimes between sleeping and waking, but all night, I continued in the constant, clear, and lively sense of the heavenly sweetness of Christ's excellent and transcendent love. Of his nearness to me, and of my dearness to him, with an inexpressibly sweet calmness of soul, in an entire rest in him. And I love that, because again, that is the very thing that I experience.
It doesn't matter, you know, what century you live in, Jesus doesn't change. And he wants us to know his heart, to enter into that kind of love relationship with him. As we close today, would you just pray that we go there more, you know, looking forward to seeing him as our friend, doing what friends do, longing to just, you know, be together?
Oh, absolutely. Lord, thank you so much for this episode of encouraging prayer, right? And nothing would be more encouraging, Lord, than for us to come into your presence like James and Mrs. Edwards did, to feel that for a longer period of time than we ever have before. Lord, help us to get there and lose the distractions that would take away our life when we can have all the life we need just to be in your presence. Lord, help us to find that way. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-25 14:13:34 / 2023-03-25 14:17:00 / 3