“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
- Jeremiah 33.3
I ask great gifts indeed, who knows it not? But Thou, the King of glory, knowest how to give greatly, and Thou hast promised great things; nothing is greater than Thyself and Thou hast given Thyself to us, Thou gavest Thyself for us.
- Columbanus, Sermon XIII, Irish, 7th century
We underestimate and undervalue the power of prayer when we spend it only to satisfy temporal or material concerns.
We want a happy marriage, a little peace at work, well-behaved children, a safe trip, recovery from illness. So we pray. These are all fine things, but if they’re all we ask for, we are squandering our time in prayer, missing the greater benefits and blessings God wants to give us. As C. S. Lewis put it, we’re like the little boy splashing away in a puddle because we cannot imagine a trip to the seaside.
A better translation of Jeremiah 33.3 would be, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great things, and mysteries, which you have not known.” God promises that prayer can be for us a daily visit to great things and mysteries the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
Great things and mysteries. Like you’ve never seen before. Daily. Got that?
There is nothing greater or more mysterious than God Himself, in Whose presence are fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16.11). Is God suggesting that prayer is the setting within which we make our most intimate approach and deepest penetration into His divine presence and being? And if so, if we can actually achieve this in prayer – to become more fully and gloriously ensconced and enfolded in the very essence of God – then what will matter more, once we’ve been there, than getting back there as soon as we can?
Temporal and material needs pale into insignificance compared with being in the presence of God, experiencing His glory. If you doubt, it only reveals how little you’ve known of the presence of God in prayer.
Don’t waste your prayers on the small stuff! Of course we should bring all our needs to the Lord, but if they are many, and we intend to burden Him with them all, then let us make more time for the kind of prayer that seeks not what the Lord can do for us, but the Lord Himself, that waits on Him, expecting Him to show us His glory and draw us into His bosom where eternal pleasures and incomparable joys await us, and all temporal concerns pale into relative insignificance.
This is the great object and privilege of prayer: Him than Whom nothing is greater, or ever can be.
He is waiting to give Himself to you. Today.
Psalm 42.1-3 (Nettleton: “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”)
As the deer pants for fresh water, let my soul, Lord, pant for You!
Let my soul thirst as it ought to for the Savior, ever true!
Tears by day have been my portion, tears by night have been my food,
While my foes add to my sorrow, saying, “Where now is your God?”
Show me more of Yourself, O Lord; bring me more deeply into Your presence and glory. And when I am there, show me Jesus, and change me into His likeness.