Prayer is the most essential tool we have to nurture, protect and help grow our walk with the Lord.
“They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.”
This weekend I was privileged to speak to a wonderful group of women on the topic of prayer. When one talks about prayer, people usually avoid the topic due to various reasons: insecurities, ignorance, fear of rejection or simply lack of maturity. What we sometimes don’t understand as Christians is that prayer is the most essential tool we have to nurture, protect and help grow our walk with the Lord. Steven Chase* gives us a beautiful picture prayer symbolized by a tree. Read and study the model of prayer and challenge yourself to intentionally stretch yourself in each area.
1. Deep Roots – Conversation
Roots draw nutrients from the rich soil and gives sustenance to the tree. Conversation takes two parts: (1) Listening (2) Responding. Prayer requires two parties: GOD & Me. Some of us don’t understand that we can come to the King as His Children. We are no longer slaves, but we walk around like one! And so, we don’t come to God and our roots begin to dry and soon die.
Galatians 4:4-7 – “But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.” (The Message)
Biblical Example – Moses (Man of Humility)
Numbers 12:3 – “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”
Prayer is talking with God!
Moses was born a slave and made a prince. At age 40 he fled to become a shepherd. At age 80, God called him to serve, but first he had to be humbled. Moses had face-to-face interactions with God! He had clear conversations with God; Exodus 3 “God said to Moses…” “Moses said to God.” Here we see the give and take in their conversation – they actually dialogued. It takes great humility to be in the presence of God. Humility helps us have total dependence on Him – just like Moses did.
Let us not be afraid to come to God’s throne! The Lord wants to have a conversation with you. Won’t you make some room for him?
2. Trunk – Relationship
The trunk protects the tree from the different seasons, provides constant support and balance. It builds connection and intimacy, which nurtures TRUST. Relationship takes work and perseverance. The same goes for our relationship with God. He wants us to have relationship with Him – to come to him.
Biblical Example – Abraham (Man of Faith)
James 2:21-23 – And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”and he was called God’s friend.
Prayer is being God’s friend!
What a great way to be remembered – “friend of God.” In order for us to develop relationship, we need to have conversation. Relationship means knowing someone. Jesus said the following in John 15:15, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
How do we KNOW God? By reading His Word, meditating on His promises and that in turn develops trust and faith.
3. Branches – Journey
All branches differ and sprout at different times. The same is said about our journey in life; our lives will have many different experiences – some good and some bad. But God is always faithful to His children and redirects their path and makes us useful servants; for “all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Biblical Example – David (Man after God’s Own HEART – Trust in the Lord)
1 Samuel 17:45-46 – “You come against me with sword… but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel… This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands.”
Prayers is letting go of myself and trust God!
No doubt that David trusted God with his life and sought God’s direction. During the difficult journeys, David longed for God’s presence:
He was thirsty for God – Psalm 63:1-2. He learned to ask for forgiveness when he sinned – Psalm 32:5. He learned to worship and praise God, even in the difficult circumstances – the Psalms say it all! In your journey, are you allowing the Lord to be the lamp unto your feet? (Psalm 119:105)
4. Leaves – Transformation
The old must die for new leaves to bud. To pray is to change; prayer changes our attitudes, but most importantly our actions. We begin to move – that’s what faith is! When our core is changed, we can move mountains! Prayer helps facilitate our transformation.
Biblical Example – Peter (Man of Conviction)
Acts 10:9, 11-13 – “About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.”
Prayer is to change!
Peter’s name means “The Rock” (Firmness, solidity and stability) – Matthew 16:18. Peter was impulsive – took the sword to protect Jesus – John 18:11. Interestingly, after attempting to “protect” Jesus, he became a coward by denying Jesus 3 times! – Mark 14:66. He did not stand up for what he believed. Despite his mistakes, God transformed Peter into a strong leader. God does the same in our lives. He takes our experiences and helps us learn from the mistakes.
5. Fruit/Flowers – Presence
The fruit and flowers of a tree give pleasure – 1 Timothy 6:17. We are to delight in the Lord – Psalm 37:4. The fruit our tree produces evokes gratitude, charity and compassion. It should be used to give back to others – Proverbs 11:24.
Biblical Example – Hannah (Woman of Gratitude)
1 Samuel 2:1 – “My heart rejoices in the Lord;
in the Lord my hornis lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.”
Prayer is to be awakened!
Hannah had to travel 15 miles to the tabernacle to pray – ON FOOT! She spoke to God with her Heart – her lips did not move, but her heart was stirred. She prayed with the right attitude – for her child to serve God. She kept her promise to give the child to God. This shows great trust and gratitude.
Rest in His Word: John 15:1-6
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.” (NIV)
- What does it mean to remain in Jesus?
- Have I been God’s friend? What can I do to cultivate my friendship with God?
I just had to add this. It was made by an adorable little girl (almost 2yrs old) with the help of her Godly mother.
Thanks J.S.! Absolutely inspiring!
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* (The Tree of Life: Models of Christian Prayer by Steven Chase)