January 29, 2020
"Jesus said to them, 'Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise'" (John 5:19). The first thought that came to my mind when I read this verse was, "Jesus, you make it look so easy. If only I could just see exactly what the Father is doing and jump right on board." Of course Jesus knew what the Father wanted. In his divinity, Jesus and the Father are one (John 10:30). In his humanity, Jesus is the perfect example of human intimacy with God, fulfilling all his ministry through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18-19, Hebrews 9:14). But we aren't yet perfect, and sometimes God's will simply isn't obvious for us. How can we as ordinary disciples grow in intimacy with God to the point that we see what he's doing and join in automatically, that we hear his voice and follow his guidance?
The answer is prayer. Such intimacy with God can only be cultivated through committed prayer. In her book Pursuing God's Will Together (pages 42-43), Ruth Haley Barton names three specific kinds of prayer that help us grow in intimacy with God so we can discern and follow his will. In Barton's terms, the three kinds of prayer are: (1) The Prayer of Quiet Trust. Using Psalm 131 as an example, Barton says this is the kind of prayer where in silence we "acknowledge our utter dependence on God and trust in God when things are 'too great and too marvelous'" for us. (2) The Prayer for Indifference. In this case "indifference" doesn't a carry a negative connotation, implying lack of care or empathy. Instead it means we want God's will so much that we become indifferent to our own. It's holy indifference and is summed up in the prayer "Not my will, but yours be done." (3) The Prayer for Wisdom. This is summed up in James 1:5, "If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you."
Where do you need to know God's will today? Set aside some time to be still in God's presence and practice these three prayers. You may find that your heart isn't ready yet feel holy indifference. Be patient. Growth in intimacy with God takes time, but knowing his desires for you and for your life are worth a dedicated pursuit.
Grace and Peace,