Jesus arrived on earth as a man to show us our true identity, created in His image, and to teach us who the Father is. Quiet Prayer helps bring us to the reality of who we are, who we were born to be, and who God is in us. We come to the reality that in Him our inner beings, the who of who we are, becomes complete. We are complete in Christ.
Though we may know intellectually that Jesus can fulfill our longings, and we’re aware of what the Bible says about God’s grace and His wondrous supply of blessings to give us an abundant life, our faith can teeter in hard times. I’ve seen staunch believers turn to the Devil in hard times, and by this I mean they give more attention to the Devil than to God in the situation. They devote more time fighting devils and demons, and talking about devils and demons, than extolling the power and eternal majesty of our God.
They become agitated and aroused with heated emotion instead of resting in God’s Word and in who God is. If we’re reduced to long episodes of Devil bashing, it’s time to take a step back and embrace a holy hush. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) is a constant word for us. Don’t ignore His still, small voice calling you to fix your attention on loving and trusting God. It doesn’t take a spiritual giant to recognize evil in the world, but it takes a child of God to see God.
Your quiet prayer practice is an act of submitting. You’re submitting to silence and to giving all your attention to the lord Jesus.
“Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 is an admonition for us all. If we turn it around it reads, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Submit to God.” Submitting to God is the key. Give God more attention than evil.
Your Quiet Prayer practice is an act of submitting. You’re submitting to silence and to giving all your attention to the Lord Jesus. When He walked the earth, Jesus set His focus on God, completely submitted to Him. (“Not My will, but Yours” [Luke 22:42], He prayed to the Father before His crucifixion. That’s being submitted to God.)
From His oneness with the Father during His life, He taught us how to break down the barriers inside us by completely submitting to His Holy Spirit’s transforming power. How else can we blithely bless our enemies and those who curse and persecute us? We’d have to be drugged to hand over our coats, ask for more when someone slaps us on the face, and walk the extra mile when we have urgent things to do.
The transforming process of the Holy Spirit in us makes it easy to hear what Jesus is saying in Luke 6:27-31, and it’s no longer an outrageous thought. We don’t get there by forcing ourselves to be nice or by wishing we could turn the cheek, give the coat, walk the mile; it’s by dedicated spiritual work.
The work isn’t about mastering the difficult deeds in this chapter, it’s about being submitted to God, which is the work of Quiet Prayer. In Quiet Prayer your focus is on God Himself, not on doing anything. As your spirit enlarges and blossoms more and more in His Spirit, you discover that what once was an outrageous idea is now reasonable.
In quiet prayer your focus is on God Himself, not on doing anything.
But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
Excerpted with permission from Quiet Prayer by Marie Chapian, copyright Marie Chapian.
* * *
It’s easy to get off track. Our identities are under attack on a day-to-day basis. Our confidence and awareness of Who we belong to is a threat to our enemy and he will stop at nothing to make sure we forget who we are. How are you praying against the attack on your identity? How have you seen God working in this area of your life lately? Come share your thoughts on our blog!