Tuesday, August 20, 2019
How many people did you communicate with yesterday? For some of you that number will be very high, while for others it will be very low. Some of the reasons for such a wide range of responses are things like opportunity, personality, and personal preference. But there’s another reason for the differences that you may not have considered – definition.
How we define communication determines how we answered the question. If communication is nothing more than saying hello, then our count is high. If communication means the expression of facts and feelings combined with listening to the same from the other person, then the count is probably extremely low.
So let’s ask another question. Have you prayed today? Again, your response is going to be determined by your definition of prayer.
I’ve come to see prayer as an elevator. The elevator stops at every floor, but we are missing out on a great privilege by not taking it all the way to the top.
Imagine your prayer closet as an elevator. It is the access point to the Eternal. It is where we communicate with the Father. The building that houses the elevator is divided into three levels, with multiple floors in each level. On each floor we can stop and exit and experience God’s presence. Let’s get on at the ground floor and make our way up to the top, checking out each level as we go.
Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
Level one is the Ask Level. This is entry level prayer, where we seek to understand the “what” and the “how” of our current circumstances. It’s at this level that we are satisfied to simply get a solution to our problems. There are times in crisis situations where this level is all the higher we have time to access. But that’s okay – God inhabits this level, and hears our cries for help.
Level two is the Seek Level. This is mid-level prayer, where we seek to understand the “why” of our circumstances. When we exit the elevator at this higher level of communication with the Father, we move beyond the request for a solution to a deeper conversation about the purpose of God for designing and allowing this event. We ask questions at this level. They are still “what” and “how” questions, but they are not focused on the circumstance but upon our heart. “What do you want me to learn, Father?” “What do I need to change, Father?” “How will this help me to grow to be more like your Son, Father?” God is on this level as well, and His grace extends to our deepest need of forgiveness and spiritual development.
Level three is the Knock level. This is roof-top prayer, where we seek to know the “Who” of our circumstances. On the rooftop we have moved past the focus on the circumstance to the highest level of communication possible, where two hearts are connected as one. It is here that we begin to understand the value of simply enjoying the Presence of the Father. Here we are no longer captivated by the circumstances but rather lavished with the Father’s love. This is what God intended prayer to be for all of us.
At every level God makes a promise.
- If you ask for a solution, you shall receive one that honors His will for your life
- If you seek understanding, He will reveal His will to you within His knowledge of your capacity to understand.
- If you knock because you want to deepen your relationship with Him, He will open the door to His presence and reveal Himself to you.
In the publication Our Daily Bread from July 10, 1999, Nancy Spiegelberg wrote this: Lord, I crawled across the bareness to you with my empty cup, uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known you better. I’d have come running with a bucket.
Have you taken the elevator of prayer today? Where did you get off?