Friday, May 20, 2011

A Reviving Homecoming

Prayer is more about jumping into the pool of the Spirit, and less about directing the water. If prayer is going to be satisfying, let alone inviting, it must provide revival and deliverance for the one immersed. It must be more like a homecoming than a going to work.

But if I asked a room full of people what they would rather talk about, prayer or tooth decay, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the winning majority chose to talk about the benefits of regular flossing.

For many, prayer was something we were taught to do in order to get something else. Right? That something else might have included a better day, a better job, a better outcome, a better future, or a better wife, but in any case, praying wasn’t the thing, getting something because of it was the thing. Prayer was a little like calling room service. Cool.

However, lots of us have virtually stopped praying because we’ve found prayer doesn’t often give us the something else we wanted. Prayer has become more about disappointment than fulfillment, so how many of us who have been around awhile really want to do it anymore? I mean, c’mon—if a strategy doesn’t work, why would you keep doing it?

But before I was taught how to strategize my life by praying the "right way," I accidentally got to know God in prayer. I found that God was like my own personal fountain of youth—Ponce de Leon was on the right track, he just looked in the wrong place. God showed Himself to be like a spring of water that I could visit anytime simply by taking a few steps away from the dry flatlands of the visible and temporary world, toward the rich and satisfying peaks of the invisible and eternal. My best expression before prayer was, “I simply want to be with you!” In other words, “I thirst.”

If God is, in fact, like a spring of life, a fountain of revival—and He says He is—then all I have to offer Him is my thirst. I can do that. The best way to glorify my Mountain Spring is to get to it as often as possible and to drink to the full, to drink to satisfaction. It would be foolish to drag water from the flatlands up to the spring, there to pour it in, hoping to make something more of it, hoping to make it go somewhere else or look different. Or maybe we could get a bucket brigade going to make a really impressive watering hole, set up some floodlights to illuminate it, and add on some related attractions to get people up the hill.

Prayer is bringing to God my thirst for Him. The way to please the Mountain Spring, the way to please God is to come to Him to get and not to give, to drink and not to water. Every time I approach the Spring it is because I have found its water to be everything I need—that’s how God is glorified by me. I believe He is who He says He is, and my efforts related to wanting Him and finding Him is how the spring of living water now in me bubbles up as His satisfying life for me and through me. He has planned for that.

So whatever it is that makes me thirsty—frustration, chaos, futility, lust, covetousness, hopelessness, envy, weakness, arrogance, pride, anger, unbelief, or gas prices—I want to be quicker and quicker to head for water. And since He now lives in me, since the Spring is so close, I can silently turn my thoughts toward Him in the confident hope that satisfaction and water await. Anything(!) that surfaces my need is the avenue toward the Spring. My satisfaction and His glory through meeting the need are the result. You and I are set up for this.

So if prayer is about drinking, have one on me.


  1. John Kenneth Stroud3:02 PM

    Love it, Ralphie! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Brent Harris3:02 PM


  3. Kelly Atkinson Stull3:03 PM

    Excellent point! I really like the homecoming idea...Thank you.

  4. Araceli J Tiblier3:03 PM

    Thank you for that Ralph. That's what I have always thought prayer was about besides being a weapon against the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world. :-)

  5. Bruce Barteaux3:04 PM

    Thanks Ralph, "and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us". (Romans 5:5) He is the river of living water who flows from our innermost being ;-)

  6. Brenda Kalas3:04 PM

    Ralph, this is one of the best notes that you have ever written. Coming before the Throne of God - imagine that the Creator of the Universe longs for us to talk with Him. And, in responding to the invitation "whosoever will may come freely". . .we can get to know God. . .during the hour of prayer, He talks to us, too!

  7. Thelma Benedict Bellows3:05 PM

    Amen ..

  8. John Cook3:05 PM

    So True!

  9. Sharon Fryer3:05 PM

    Thanks for taggin me, Ralph...Very refreshing :-) Yes, for my thirst!!! I heard one minister say about prayer, (which we know is simply fellowshipping with Daddy/God) that it is us climbing on Abba's lap...And Kissing the Face Of God!!! Reading your words brought this to my heart...Thank you, again!!! This was a WELL TIMED reminder for me, TODAY!!! ♥

  10. Maurice Wells3:08 PM

    Amen Brother..." We are drinking at the springs of living water.o wonderful and bountiful supply".

  11. Thanks very much, everyone, for your comments! I'm delighted that you're already recognizing the benefits of approaching God on the basis of what He has and is for you.

    And how cool is that?

  12. Diane Doty4:35 PM

    Thank you Ralph. God Bless You :-D

  13. Debbie Sweet-Wells4:40 PM

    Just what the Great Physician ordered for me today....thank you brother and thank you brothers and sisters for your comments as well...I feel like I've been in fellowship with the family of faith today...

  14. Thelma Benedict Bellows4:41 PM

    PRAYER !! the most important part of our Christian walk.

  15. Cliff Gableman5:06 PM

    He is the fountain! Oh how I love Him! The more we drink the more we want, blessed be the name of the Lord!

  16. Don Geser7:48 PM

    Happy to know that Christ removed the "not good enough" filter from the Old Testament for me/us on Calvary. I had two other comments but I erased them myself to save you the effort. You don't have to thank me, that's how I roll. :)

  17. Aly Miliziano2:15 AM

    I so enjoyed reading your Post Ralph. Thank you :) I've been thinking about this too lately... there was a time when all I could do in prayer was beg God, asking Him for healing, asking Him for peace, asking Him for spiritual growth... Now however, in prayer, all I find myself doing is saying 'THANK YOU FATHER'. My prayers have changed somewhat and are FULL of thanksgiving.. :) I realised that this brings glory to our wonderful God. :)

  18. Dave Geisler2:16 AM

    Prayer is a two way is not me rambling on and on but allowing time and waiting on Him to speak. I am learning this more by more as I practice "listening prayer". One word from God is worth 10000000000 words from man. My problem is that many times I am not willing to do that which is good, that which is beautiful so God has to continually romance me to Himself. I am so glad that love is patient

  19. Bart Breen10:50 AM

    I like this Ralph. Prayer to me for a long time was about saying the things the right way in hopes that God would do what I was asking for ... Prayer now for me is more about just conversing with God and learning to hear what He is saying back.

  20. Debbie Street Childers8:11 AM

    Wow – I just love that! I mean I really, really love that one!

  21. Charles Spoelstra9:30 AM

    Ralph, your inner world where you live with Jesus lives sounds a lot like mine. Mountains, fountains, gardens and such. I say this because you probably know how encouraging it is for me to see into somebody else's "city" and say, "wow! you see that too! Coolness!" Thank you for sharing this. Really beautiful. We should talk.

  22. Paul Balnius11:14 PM

    Well said, Ralph. And lets not forget; prayer is as simple as; expressing my love for him, my appreciation to him, my joy with him, my peace in him, my acknowledgement of his faithfulness, or whatever else it may be.but remember, it is always in the hear and now! I can do it anywhere, anyhow, anyway. He doesn't need me to be in a formal place or position, he just wants me to be myself, and come to him in my hour of need, or in my celebration and thankfulness for what the holy spirit is doing in my life. Coming to him with child-like faith, is all we need to do. He will be there, always.