I've been reading 'Red Moon Rising' recently, about the birth and growth of the 24-7 Prayer movement and am feeling very inspired to write about prayer right now. This will hopefully be the first of a few articles on the subject of prayer.
The thing that struck me first of all when thinking about prayer was about how we do intimacy with God, and that there are different ways of doing it than just the conventional, well known ones. Intimacy is the closest kind of relationship you can have, its something you share with one other person and its a unique interaction between two people of closeness in a way you don't have with others. Most commonly that happens between married couples, but in a Christian context this also happens with God.
When we talk about intimacy with God we often talk about reverence and awe, facedown worship and quietness and stillness. I think this is very much intimacy with God, but I think its more than that. I think intimacy is engaging with God throughout your day and being totally honest with Him about what's going on in your everyday life and involve God in even your most private situations and thoughts. Its like an ongoing conversation with God
Intimacy and a real relationship with God is ongoing. In my experience you can reach a level of closeness where your everyday experience you go through with God. As you walk to the station to go to work, on the train even at work. If you're away on holiday sitting by the pool. If you're riding your bike or walking anywhere, or catching the bus. Even while listening to worship music on your i-pod, you can engage with God.
Quiet arrow prayers or praying aloud even, talking to God as you would your closest friend - as opposed to your 'buddy' - about life issues, about how you're feeling, to ask Him to cope with your day and your life while its happening. Discussing things with Him and asking Him about things that are on your mind, and challenging Him on the things you find hard and don't understand. Listening to him while you go about your life. You can I beleive even share a little in His sense of humour as you see that played out in everyday life. That is all intimacy with God.
You can't have a relationship with God on that level unless you have that closeness and trust between yourself and God. This is not the informal 'buddy' God we hear so much about nowadays, it's a lot more than that. It's having that reverence to know who He is, to have the closeness to trust Him and be honest with Him in prayer and engage daily with Him. Say how you feel, be honest with Him. If we don't understand what's happening, ask!
Its the closeness and honesty Job shared with God. He wrestled with God, challenged Him, enquired of Him. You can't do that without something more than a 'buddy' relationship and without the fear of the Lord - the awe and wonder of who He is and His greatness.
Once you come into the courts of the King you can engage with Him personally and intimately, with total honesty, with the security of His grace, mercy and love. Talking to God honestly, frankly and with respect and awe for who He is. That's as intimate in a different way as spending time in the quiet and the still and sitting in a room inviting God's spirit to come.
It's another form of intimacy, and is close in the right way, without the 'buddy' attitude. In my experience it means you get to see another side of God and really engage with Him about real issues with great honesty, and laugh as He laughs, feel the pain He does and the righteous anger. When you share that intimacy with God, you begin to feel what is on His heart and it becomes transplanted on to yours. What a privilege.