The concept of the Eternal God desiring us to pray to Him, and Him being earnestly desirous to answer our feeble call, is an enigma. There would be no logical way of believing this, much less understanding it, were it not revealed to us in the word of God the design and heart of God. With the backdrop of the darkness of sin, the depravity of man, and the wondrous work of God in Christ in the midst of the lost and perishing, we begin to see something of the intent, and will of God, with regard to our drawing near to Him, and this by prayer. And let it be said, and grasped, that the “nearness of our God,” is indeed our good…an eternal good, our greatest blessing.
In the book of Joel, it appears that a natural disaster of a locust invasion, and the invasion of an army from the north (Probably Assyria), reveals the desperateness and devastation of the times for Israel. But in the darkness will shine a light of hope, a contrast so powerfully Divine and good, that again, we catch a glimpse of the heart and design of God. Joel writes: “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice; for the Lord will do GREAT THINGS.” (2:21) As an aside, you will remember that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah while he was in prison, and Jerusalem was under siege: “Call unto Me, and I will answer you, and show you GREAT and MIGHTY THINGS which you do not know.” (Jer. 33:3) What are these “great” and “mighty” things? Joel continues: “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain…the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil…AND I WILL RESTORE TO YOU THE YEARS THE LOCUSTS HAVE EATEN.” (23-25) What we see here is the Sovereign, Almighty God, declaring what He will do out of His mercy, and it is incomprehensible. Why? How can this be? The basis for it all is found in the goodness of God, His holy, unique nature of mercy. Not only will He forgive when there is a return of the heart to Him, but there is the “abundantly above” all that we could ask or think. What did the father of the prodigal son do when he saw his “lost” son afar off heading home, even though he had squandered all that had been given him by his father? The father RAN…embraced him…made a feast, and put a robe on his back, and a ring on his finger. Why? Because of his heart…a heart of mercy, and compassion…a heart that desires the highest and best for the one he loves.
So, what does this have to do with prayer? The heart of God is a seeking heart. We know that Christ is the Shepherd who seeks the lost, but do we realize that the Father SEEKS those who will worship Him in Spirit and truth? Do we grasp that the Lord Jesus declares to us that the Father waits for us to come to Him? “When ye pray, …pray to thy Father (Our Father which art in heaven….) which is in secret…” Note the promise: “…and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matt. 6:6) The Eternal God, even the God of Israel…the God of Joel…is the same today. He is the same Father of which Christ spoke. And the invitation by Him, and the obligation which is ours, remains the same…”Come…and worship…pray…live in the expectation of the reality of His presence, and promises.” The result…God answers prayer. The question remains: Who will believe Him, His desire, His design…His determination to teach us to pray? Always remember that Christ died to make a way so that we could pray…and draw nigh to God.