Summary: Prayer is more than just asking God. It is communion between two friends. God seeks friendship with man, for He is an intensely personal God.
The passage we’ve just read today is prayer – when a man meets God and talks to Him. It is, the Bible says, “as a man speaks with his friend” (v.11).
We will not fully understand prayer if we think about it only as something to do with asking something from God. Prayer is not just about asking, although we do have many things to ask from God. If we are creature, and He is our Creator God, then obviously there are many things we need Him to give us.
But prayer is more than asking. Moses set up a tent, calling it the “tent of meeting” where man can meet God. When the people see His presence, their first response was worship. They all stood and worshipped Him, each at the entrance to his tent.
And the Bible says, “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” It’s a figurative expression showing how close they were, and their conversation was open and intimate.
And that is prayer. It has to do with building a relationship with God. Just like any conversation we have with our friends. A relationship is built with the person to whom we talk to. Otherwise we will call the other person a stranger. No matter how much I read about him in the newspaper or magazine. Prayer is a privilege God gives us, through which we can come to know Him and appreciate Him. This is a relationship God wants.
The Bible shows us in a few ways how we are related to Him.
• First, it is the relationship between the Creator and creature. We’re the created by Him and He is our Creator.
• It’s a relationship between the Almighty and the weak, between the divine and the mortal.
But it is not just that. It is not just the One who is “high up” and us who are “down here”. If you think of God only like a boss and we are His workers, then you have not fully understand Him.
• Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven…” (Matt 6:9). It’s a relationship between a parent and child. It tells us about His protection for us, that He guides and provides for us.
But that’s not all. The Bible shows us in a couple of places, that God relates to us as a close friend.
The passage we read here tells us that it’s a relationship between friend and friend. Jesus once told His disciples in John 15:15 “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
We are invited to converse with Him as friend with friend. You see, our relationship with Him did not stop at the relationship of Creator and creature, between the Almighty and powerless, between parent and child, but ultimately, what God desires with us is a friendship.
And when we talk about friends, I think we all understand a little bit more. We all have friends, good friends, close friends. We appreciate them. We treasure them. We spend time with them.
What we really need from God are not things, but a friendship. A close relationship with One who will never fail us or forsake us.
There is a Chinese short chorus 好朋友 Jesus is my best friend.
(I have a good friend and his name is Jesus. He is a faithful, unchanging friend. From dawn to dusk, from the darkest of night to the bright of day, He remains to be my true, lifelong friend. Others may have left me, but He stayed by my side, to give me comfort and warmth. He is my best friend - Jesus.)
Is He your friend today? Do you share your heart with Him the way you would to a good friend?
You don’t just ask from your friend, you talk with your friend. You share with your friend. You give to your friend.
God wants friendship with us. What does this tell us about our God? It says something amazing about the nature of God - that He is a personal God – an intensely personal God. The God that the Bible reveals to us is not an impersonal force, or just a Spirit. He is a Person whom we can relate to as a friend.
This is important because people believe in strange gods – gods that they do not know and yet have power over our lives. People believe in Feng Shui - impersonal forces which seem to control our lives, over which we have no authority or power. They make things happen to us, and they can do what they want. They have no feelings.