Gospel Message & Recording
We hear the word “prayer” almost on weekly bases, in church, fellowship or in conversations with our friends. But what is prayer? The Greek word for prayer is proseuche, meaning a “desire to have intimate contact with someone.” Therefore, prayer is indeed our desire to have intimacy with God. To have intimacy with God requires us to enter into His presence” That is in fact what prayer is—entering into the “presence of God.” Here we must specify that many religions pray, or rather, seek intimacy with God, but only a Christian, who comes in the name of Christ Jesus, can enter into the presence of God. (John 14:6) Access to the presence of God is only through Jesus Christ.
Prayer has three realms: asking, seeking, and knocking. (Luke 11:9-13) This can also be seen vividly in the architecture of the Holy Temple that God commanded the Israelites to construct. (1 Kings 6) The Temple had three areas: the outer court, the holy place, and the holy of holies. The outer court is where the sacrifices where brought to be burnt so as to atone for the sins of the individual and family. The holy place is where the priests would enter to praise God. The holy of holies was the place where the tablets of the law were placed and other holy items. It should be noted that only priests were allowed to enter into the holy place; further, only the high priest could enter the holy of holies on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. (Hebrews 9:7) What God set in place in providing the instruction for building of the Temple also provided a pathway for us to enter into His presence.
The outer court represents the “asking realm.” Here, as the sacrifices were offered for the atonement of sins, so also we ask, during our prayer time, for God to forgive us of our sins through the Blood of His Son Jesus Christ. Of course there are no more sacrifices, because Christ, was the final sacrifice, once and for all. Nevertheless, we, spiritually speaking, bring our sins, and ask God to burn them in the fire of his mercy and forgiveness. In this realm, we pray for our own needs, such as protection and physical healing, as well as the needs of others. Here, also the demonic spirits condemn us, and seek to distract us from praying longer through worldly thoughts and cares. And that is why often, most Christians only experience this realm. A few minutes, or maybe even a half-hour is spent in the asking realm, never to remain long enough for the “seeking realm.” Truthfully speaking, our prayer time is only this: asking for what we need and want, with little desire to be intimate with God. But those who desire such intimacy will stay put, and not let time or distraction take them away from entering into the presence of God.
For those that wait upon the Lord, they will experience the “seeking realm.” Here, as in the Temple, where the priests would continually praise God, so also we, during our prayer time, praise God, not because He did anything for us, but simply because He is our loving-heavenly Father. This praise comes from the heart and tells God how great and mighty He is. How merciful and gracious He has been. This realm is all about God and nothing about the person. We might at this realm raise our hands and call out His name and glorify him. The emotions that we experience are very positive and uplifting. Therefore, we might think that this will be the end of our prayer time. However, if we wait even longer, we will break through to the “knocking realm.”
The break through happens when we enter into the silence. Here, as the high priest went once a year to atone for the sins of Israel alone without anyone, in a sort of silence, so also we knock on the doors of heaven in silence. In this realm there are no demonic spirits, no distraction, no care for the earthly things, just the divine presence of God. Joy, grace, mercy, and all the things attributed to God become tangible. It is at this point we understand that such virtues are the personification of God. In other word, mercy and grace is God. Why does it have to be silent, you might ask? Imagine you were present on Calvary, standing at the foot of the Cross. What could you say or do to add to the Crucified Messiah? Nothing! All we can do is be silent. Similarly, in the presence of God, we can only be silent. There is nothing we can add to what we are experiencing. Here in this realm, the doors begin to open. When the door opens, we see our Lord Jesus standing ready to greet us, as he stood for Stephen the first martyr of the Church. (Acts 7:56) He not only stands but also embraces us. With this embrace He enters into us. Here the words of St. Paul, “It is not I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20) becomes a reality. The words of Christ become true like never before, “I in them and they in me, so that they might be brought to complete unity.” (John 17:23) Many “graces” or “gifts” are given to the person who ascends to this realm such as, healing, prophecy, visions and clairvoyance, preaching with power, teaching with wisdom, protection from evil spirits and evil people.
These are the realms of prayer to enter into the presence of God. If we are willing to put the time and effort into our relationship with God, then we will find ourselves enjoying a fulfilled prayer life.
Small Group Discussion Questions
- How is your prayer life?
- How often do you pray? Daily, once or twice a week?
- How do you balance family prayer and personal prayer?
- What are some ways (practical) to improve your prayer life?
- What are you thoughts on the three realms of prayer? Do you find yourself ascending to the seeking and knocking realm of prayer or do you find yourself stuck in the asking realm?
- What are some areas of the message that helped you in your prayer life?
- Did you learn anything new from the message that you didn’t know before?