Present At First Light
A Present Awareness of Meeting and Greeting God in Prayer
“Los niños que no saben saludar!” That’s exactly what my grandfather would say out loud to his forgetful grandkids. Especially when we would storm into his house every Sunday afternoon and get busy playing. After all, this was his home and it was expected that we first acknowledge his presence by greeting him with a kiss. Translated, “The children who don’t know how to greet.” It was a healthy memo for us to respect and honor our elders before busying ourselves with other things throughout the day. The moment we’d hear our grandfather calling out for us, “Los niños que no saben saludar,” we would immediately drop whatever we were doing and rush right to him.
Ever have one of those days wherein you wake up late, splash coffee on your face, and head out the door for work? Somehow we miss out on greeting the Giver of every brand new day. How quick we are to forget! Just the initial act of acknowledging God as our Father in heaven makes a daily difference in our lives. He reminds us that we are His children by calling out to us, “Come to me.” The Father invites us into His presence that we may meet and greet Him. This intimate invitation between the Father and his children is called communion or prayer. Before His children can play in every brand new day they should pray.
We know of an instance when Jesus was booked solid in a town called Capernaum. In fact, the whole city was gathered at his door with those in need of healing from a disease or deliverance from a demon. Human priority would dictate that Jesus should address the pressing needs of the sick or demonized from among the population at first light. Where do you suppose we find Jesus at the time of his wake up call? “In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went to a deserted place, and there he prayed” (Mk 1:35). While everyone was searching for him on earth, he was seeking his Father in heaven. His priorities were in the right place—he greeted his Father in prayer before all else. Through this loving and obedient act, Jesus clothe himself with his Father’s divine will for his life on a daily basis.
Where does one find us during our first waking hour? Is there a present awareness in our lives that we ought to be our Father’s first audience? Or are we children who simply fail to greet Him? While we spend so much time working in the kingdom, we forget to spend time with the king. Busyness has the tendency to squeeze God out of our earthly schedules. We kid ourselves when we say that we’ll catch up with our communion and pray at a later date. After all, the crying needs of the world is threatening to huff and puff and blow our door down. Someone once said that prayerlessness makes one weak at the knees. Like Jesus, let us clear our calendars and prioritize prayer in our lives before we go about our Father’s business. Call it “quiet time” or “alone time with our Lord,” let’s not neglect this precious period with Him. Our Father’s daily roll call still stands. Let’s meet and greet God daily and discover what He wants for us before the world’s wants get in the way.
Copyright 2009, Gicky Soriano. All rights reserved.
There are hundreds of books on prayer, and much of the advice they contain is likely to be the same. So what distinguishes these books? Call it a kind of wisdom, a sense that here's someone who knows something of God's heart. A good example can be found in this fine book by the Quaker writer and teacher Richard Foster.
"Few books have challenged me like this one. I would urge every serious minded Christian to read it...at your own risk." -- Bill Hybels, author of Honest to God?
"God spoke to me." "The Spirit spoke to my heart." "God revealed the idea to me." Being close to God means communicating with him--telling him what is on our hearts in prayer and hearing and understanding what he is saying to us. It is this second half of our conversation with God that is so important but that can also be so difficult. How do we hear his voice? How can we be sure that what we think we hear is not our own subconscious? What role does the Bible play? What if what God says to us is not clear? The key, says best-selling author Dallas Willard, is to focus not so much on individual actions and decisions as on building our personal relationship with our Creator. In this updated classic, originally published as In Search of Guidance, the author provides rich spiritual insight into how we can hear God's voice clearly and develop an intimate partnership with him in the work of his kingdom.
When Richard Foster began writing Celebration of Discipline more than 20 years ago, an older writer gave him a bit of advice: "Be sure that every chapter forces the reader into the next chapter." Foster took the advice to heart; as a result, his book presents one of the most compelling and readable visions of Christian spirituality published in the past few decades. After beginning with a simple observation--"Superficiality is the curse of our age.... The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people"--Foster's book moves to explain the disciplines people must cultivate in order to achieve spiritual depth.