If I asked “what makes for a deep friendship?” you might reply: “someone I enjoy being with, whom I talk with freely, share joys and sorrows, who understands me, who accepts me, who listens, someone I trust…”
This is what prayer is all about: friendship with God.
There weren’t many friends of God in the Old Testament. Enoch (Genesis 5:22) and Noah (Genesis 6:9) walked with God. Abraham discussed with God at length (Genesis 18:20-33) and is called a friend of God (2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23). The Lord spoke to Moses, face to face, as one speaks to a friend (Exodus 33:7-11)
…but when Jesus came among us, a real flesh and blood person, He needed friends. He made close friendships with men and with women. Even in the final moments of his earthly ministry, He called those around him His “friends” (John 15:12-17). And when Jesus ascended to heaven, He poured out His Holy Spirit into the hearts of His friends so that this rich friendship and prayer life could continue.
Let me show you how this has worked out in my own life. A deep friendship with God has developed at the center of my heart and life. I believe that this is what God wants for us all. Paul said, “For me to live is Christ” (Phil.1:21).
But, friendship takes time. If we don’t take time with our family and friends, through phone calls, meetings, talks, letters, emails… friendship fizzles. So, I have made time to become friends with God. My time is before breakfast: I have tea, get dressed, and then have my appointment with God. There is no special format. I read the Bible: God speaks to me. I pray for others and the Holy Spirit reminds me who to pray for. I spend time in praise.
Who do I pray for? God gives us circles of friends. For me there are at least 3 circles: (1) Family (my friendship with each member helps my prayers for them), (2) Church Family (one can’t pray for everyone, but most are in smaller groups such as choir, Sunday school, house groups, A.C.W, Sanctuary, Finance Committee), and (3) Special Interests (Friends through workplace, music, dancing, sports, missions, politics, reading groups etc.) You can’t pray for and love everyone but you can ask God for friendships that will bless people within these groups.
What else has helped me in my prayer life? Praying with others and inviting Jesus into all my everyday activities.
Conclusion: To some of you, the thought of friendship with God may seem remote and impossible …but this is what God longs for: To make His home in our hearts and through all our friendships to bless people through our prayers.Editor’s Footnote: Mollie Brow delivered this sermon less than a day before she died. She is sorely missed.