The Kindergarten of Prayer
A kindergarten experience is beneficial before serious learning begins. The kindergarten of prayer relates to influences on each of our lives even before we apply ourselves to prayer.
For simplicity let us say they impinge upon our lives in three ways: by the creation around us; by a spoken voice; and by the visit of God’s Son to our planet in the person of Jesus.
It is no accident that the Bible begins with the five words in the beginning God created. The subject (the fourth word) made something happen (the fifth word – created). This was in one sense a single activity, but it was also the start of a continuing process of creation. For example, the original building blocks could be put together in different ways.
Next we are invited to view the creation with admiration; something that in turn leads us to worship the creator. Do read Psalm 8. It most helpful in showing us exactly what we should do; especially verses three and four.
In Romans chapter 1 verse 20 Paul picks up on what we have been exploring. “Since the creation God’s qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that people are without excuse.”Even the most atheistic of people find it difficult not ascribe to the creation a personal dynamic. They talk of mother nature. If we accept God exists creation makes sense.
There are probably hundreds of occurrences of God-speak in the Bible. In the Prayer Focus three months ago we looked at Moses as a man of prayer. This started when God gave him a kindergarten experience. God used a burning bush which was not consumed to speak to him. He realised that he was at a holy place and listened (Exodus 3).
The boy, Samuel, ran to Eli, the priest, three times because he heard a voice. Eventually the penny dropped with Eli and he told Samuel what to do (1 Samuel 3). The lad was destined to initiate an era of God focussed awareness in Israel
Isaiah had a vision in the temple of strange creatures called seraphim. God spoke clearly to him about a new life-task(Isaiah 6). From his lead a generation of prophet–scribes emerged.
When Jesus wanted to set out his manifesto it was to Isaiah’s words that he turned (Isaiah 61 verse 1). “The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor…broken hearted…captives…prisoners.”Jesus frequently made the first approach to people. He made clear the arrangement for the continuance of his work beyond his ascension in John 14 verse 26, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things.” This subject is expanded in John 16. What becomes clear is that the godly influence is now far greater than it would have been, had Jesus remained here as a single person.
In God’s mercy we have we have been given the privilege of being alive in this epoch. Let us be sensitive to this work going on in our own lives and in the lives of others – believers and not-yet-believers. A greater awareness of these things should stimulate our praying.