Breakthrough Begins with Intimacy

One of my favorite sayings that floats around Wesley is “prayer is simply talking to God.” I think about that phrase and the simplicity of it helps prayer become more freeing and less pressurized than I ever thought possible. A while ago I started to wonder how in the world I could let something that seems so easy become so convoluted and complicated. And to be perfectly honest I think those moments when it becomes something more than just talking to God, when it becomes this lofty, pressure filled thing, when it feels weighty and time consuming, when it feel likes a reach into empty space, or whatever it becomes to us that commonly deters us from cultivating fruitful prayer lives, it comes back to one simple explanation; we have stepped outside the place of intimacy and forgotten that intimacy is what we are called to rest in and where are told to pray from. God tells us “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” -Matthew 11:28. This is an invitation to come talk to Him, to tell Him what you are worried about and to allow Him space to replace that worry with ease, rest, and direction. It is an invitation to intimacy, and a declaration that you will receive rest when you say yes to this invitation.

A foundational thing to know about intimacy is that you cultivate intimacy by trying different things while praying and spending time with God and deciding what uniquely makes you feel connected to Him.  One of the most beautiful and freeing things I have learned about intimacy with God is that there are no expectations on how it has to look. And when I know that intimacy is all about personal relationships, I can understand that it gets to be unique for me and God; it gets to develop and change as I develop and change. Think about your relationship with your significant other, or with your best friend, I can almost guarantee you that what that relationship looks like today is not the same as it was when you first met. You have grown together, you have tried new ways to connect when things became slightly stagnant. You have been through hard seasons, you have been through really sweet and fun seasons. You have fought, you have cried together, you have laughed together, you have celebrated some of the most life changing moments together. That is the person you know through and through and they know the same about you. You know each other’s history, and you have lived this history together, this allows you to understand each other on deeper levels and connect with ease. This is intimacy; when you open up your heart and let someone in to every part, when you don't hold back, when you don’t keep secrets, when you just exist in the raw emotion of where you are. And that is the same for intimacy with God, especially in times of prayer.
 
I feel like our culture has perpetuated this idea of striving and perfection and doing everything right from the get go. And even in Christain culture we do everything for everyone else, and we don't allow ourselves to live in our true identity as God’s beloved and just rest in that place with Him because we feel like we have to be perfect and earn this love. We don’t take the time to commune with God and look at Him and ourselves anymore, we are constantly doing, doing, doing, and giving, giving, giving that we forget all of those things are supposed to flow from this beautiful place that is cultivated in secret with God in the prayer closet just between us and Him. Giving is great, and we are called to serve one another and pray for one another, but we cannot forget that the intimacy that fuels our prayers to move on behalf of others must originate in a space where we give ourselves the time, freedom, and permission to come before the Lord exactly as we are, and to be with Him simply to be with Him for ourselves and enjoy His presence.

Also, think about how much easier it is to talk to a person when you know their heart. Conversation flows with ease because you talk about things you know the other is passionate about. We get to pray for the deep cries of our heart because God has fueled that passion within us, He cares because we care, and we care about things because God cares about things. We get the amazing opportunity to talk with Him as we connect over these passions and release something beautiful in the world around us.

But before you begin releasing things, you have to know and trust each other. The people you know and trust the most are the people that you can just sit in a room with and not say a word, you can just enjoy each other's presence. I think that is key when it comes to intimacy with God in prayer. We get to experience this amazing connection, we get to sit before God and just be comforted by His loving presence. He craves to be with us,  so when He gets our full attention with no expectations and no distractions, He jumps for joy and is so ready to release His love over us. It's from that place, where we sit in silence just communing with Him, that we catch His heart and He knows the depths of ours, and then we can release things in the atmosphere through our prayers. The best part is that it’s easy because we get to cultivate this relationship by expressing every raw emotion we have, by telling Him about our day, by sitting with Him in silence when we don't have words, by crying out for the things our hearts break for. It's the culmination of all these individual intimate moments that fuel our prayer lives with God.
 
There is no formula for figuring out what works best for you!! It is all about you and God building a connection in your unique way where you get to be real and open and learn the nooks and crannies of each other's hearts. So some practical examples to try with God could include: waking up and saying “hey” to God, going on a drive with God, going on a walk, playing sports with God, reading scripture, worshiping, crying, sitting in silence, drawing or painting, dancing, journaling, etc. My biggest piece of advice while doing this for yourself is to not be afraid for an idea to flop! The first thing you try may not work for you, and that is okay, it may take some time for you and God to figure out how you best connect, but there is no pressure to be perfect in this. Just let it be natural and fun and take it one day at a time, the connection will grow, and eventually you will look back and see the deep wells of intimacy and prayer that you and God have dug together for your own life and you will be amazed!!

Amazing things can stir up when we are in tune with God in intimate ways. Breakthrough begins with intimacy. Prayer is just talking to God, and it's so easy to talk with the ones you know :)  there is no pressure, it’s just pressing into His presence and letting go of everything else. He will guide the rest for you.

Author | Tori Kramer

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