I’ve been thinking some new thoughts, and I’m going to share them with you in their raw form.
You know, we sometimes have pretty rigid ideas of what prayer is. We think we have to either be repenting, worshiping, or asking for things for ourselves and others (and thanking God for the answers). Additionally, maybe we get the concept of listening to the Spirit so that He can guide us. If we’re REALLY spiritual, we might even “soak” — so that we can receive really cool supernatural revelation.
But I got to thinking: I wonder if Jesus ever wants us to just be friends with Him without having some huge purpose attached to it. Maybe you’re thinking, “Duh! Where has this woman been? I’ve known this for years!” (Well, good for you. I’m having a higher revelation moment for me. Can’t help it if I should have thought of this years ago. It’s just coming now!)
What started my wheels turning was a story that James Goll told, about how for twenty years, God woke him up every night at 2:00 a.m. — not to intercede, not to worship, not even to receive prophetic revelation. He just wanted Mr. Goll to “watch” with Him. So he got out of bed, every night, and sat in his favorite chair for a short time just to do that — watch with Him, be with Him. For twenty years. Mr. Goll didn’t do or say anything during those nightly visits. As I understand it, he didn’t receive momentous revelatory information, either. He was just being with Jesus.
I got to thinking about how common it is for people who are in ministry to only have friendships that are all about ministry. If they’re not pouring into someone they want to bring up higher in the Lord, they are intent on useful connections to bring themselves up higher. Probably due to being too busy too much of the time and having so many people wanting something from them continuously, they don’t have a mindset of nurturing friendships with people who do not have an obvious purpose in the scheme of ministry as they see it.
And I began to wonder if I’ve been like that with the Lord way too much — spending my time with Him for all the clearly purposeful stuff, like intercession and much-needed revelation — guidance for my life, what to teach, how to pray. But then there have been the times I have said, “Tell me what’s on Your heart, Lord,” because I know that listening to Him is … well … ministering to Him (there we go with that purposeful stuff again!).
Now, I understand that all of the above types of prayer are aspects of being God’s friend. And the last part — listening to know His heart, just because I love Him — that’s starting to sound like really intimate friendship, isn’t it.
But I think there is something more yet that He would like. Real friends spend time with each other without having to see an obvious accomplishment coming out of the time spent. That is a hard concept for purpose-filled people to get hold of.
In Gethsemane, Jesus took his three closest friends aside with Him and said, “Watch with Me.” A little later, finding them asleep, He asked them, “Could you not watch with Me one hour?” Yes, He added that they should watch and pray so that they would not succumb to temptation. And most of the time this passage (Matthew 26:37-41) is used to exhort us to pray diligently for a minimum of one hour a day, once again, to get a job done. Whole books have been written on that subject.
But there is something about that word “watch” that keeps pulling at me. And something about real friendship with Jesus being entirely about time with Him without having to have any purpose at all, just because we love each other.