Prayer can often feel lonely and quiet, as if you’re whispering up to heaven hoping God will hear you and respond. The truth is quite the opposite however. In this video, Senior Vice President of Church Ministries at Lifeway, Michael Kelley, explains how when your pray you are joining an ongoing conversation between the Trinity on your behalf.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
Friends, I want to share with you a little bit about prayer today. Something that’s been really, really encouraging to me and I hope it will be encouraging to you. But in order to do that, let me see if I can set up a scenario for you.
An Overheard Conversation
Let’s say that you’re walking in a place that’s familiar to you and you recognize a lot of the people that are there. You certainly recognize the landmarks that are there. And you walk up to a group of people and you know all of them and they’re kind of huddled together in a circle and they’re having a conversation. And you walk up and as you’re walking you kind of start to get some hints about what they’re saying and you recognize your name being spoken over and over again. And then you stop dead in your tracks because you realize this group of people is actually talking about you.
Now, that’s an incredibly uncomfortable situation, right? There’s part of you that just wants to sort of slink away like you weren’t there at all and just act like it never happened. There’s part of you that might feel a little bit betrayed. And then there’s part of you maybe that actually wants to barge into the conversation saying, “Hey guys, I can go ahead and clear up some of these things that you’re talking about right now.”
Now, imagine the same scenario—walking up, a conversation is going on—but instead of the people talking about some character trait you have or some financial move you’ve made or some choice that’s become apparent in your lifestyle or something like that. Imagine walking up on a group of people and those people are talking about how to help you in a struggle that you’re having or they’re talking about how gifted you are in a certain thing or they’re talking about some measure of aid that they can give because they know something is happening with your family or your close friends.
Now that’s an entirely different situation. It might make you feel a little bit uncomfortable too to know that these people are talking about you, but in the end, it bolsters your love for those people because you know that even when you’re not there, those people actually have you on their minds and in their hearts.
Prayer Does Not Need to Feel Lonely
So here’s how this relates to prayer. Prayer, it can feel like, is a very lonely thing sometimes. I mean a lot of times it’s you in your closet, you by the bed, you laying awake at night, and you hit your knees or you fold your hands and you start to pray and it’s just you. It’s you and your thoughts and the Lord. And so you pray and you pray and you pray and oftentimes you don’t get anything readily back from the Lord. It can be a very, very lonely thing.
Interestingly though, when you start reading the New Testament, what you find is that prayer is not like you’re waiting at the DMV for your number to be called when God will grant you an audience. Instead, prayer is a lot more like joining a conversation that’s already in progress.
I think about a passage like Hebrews chapter 7 where the writer of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus is never going to die again, that He has an indestructible life, and He lives to always intercede for us. So that’s breath-taking. It’s staggering right now to think about, that right now, right now—whether we’re cognizant of the fact of not—Jesus is actually interceding for us with the Father.
And then go to the book of Romans, Romans chapter 8, and you find Paul writing about the fact that the Holy Spirit is also involved in our prayers, that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in groans that are too deep for us to actually express according to the will of God.
So bring those two things together and you come to realize that right now, at this very moment, the Son is interceding and the Spirit is there too and they’re all talking together, the members of the Trinity. There is this ongoing conversation happening in ways that we cannot understand, that right now we are being prayer for, that we are the subject of a divine conversation.
So when you hit your knees, when you fold your hands, when you lay awake at night, when you start to pray, consider the fact that you’re not knocking on the door of heaven hoping to be recognized and let in. Instead, you are walking up to a conversation that has already been happening about you—your needs, your struggles. And that’s a very, very encouraging thing for me today.