Being alone in a small group or even a very large crowd of people appears somewhat contradictory. When we have a conversation about a general subject, such as the weather, sports, books, television shows and movies, or clothing, we usually don’t mind if there are others around us. Sometimes a discussion will improve when more people are involved. But if it is personal and possibly intimate, we feel we must talk alone, away from any disruptions and eavesdropping.
Prayer is a means for us to open our hearts and converse with God. It is a time where we can make our needs and desires known to Him. And, more importantly, it is a way He makes our true self known to us, or what is deep within our hearts, and begins to conform us into what He wants us to be.
When Jesus came to earth as a physical human being like us, He showed us the necessity of prayer. Frequently, throughout the first four books of the New Testament, we find a record of Him going before His heavenly Father. Sometimes we are even able to see just what He actually said in His prayers. A remarkable aspect is, that He was able to seek God, even when He was not by Himself.
“And it came to pass, as [Jesus] was alone praying, His disciples were with Him” (Luke 9:18). This is the beauty of conversing with God. Unlike other religions and religious groups, God does not look at the overall means and method of our communication with Him. He observes the motive and what lies in our heart instead. Of course, He does expect us to come before Him humbly and reverently, without continual, pointless babbling, or aimless wandering from one thought to another.
When we go before God at a certain time, in a certain place, following a certain procedure, and in a certain position, then we are just following a ritual. God desires a relationship with us, and one of the products of it is, that we will want to freely communicate with Him. If we just obey a set of rules and requirements to obtain something from God, even in a loving manner, we are like a machine with no will of our own.
Many feel that by praying during a designated meeting in a church, or for a few minutes each day over a meal, or at a prescheduled time each week, they will be right with God. Yet, if we had the same attitude toward a spouse or very close friend, or if they only heard a continual list of wants and desires almost every time we spoke, we would quickly find a relationship that is cold, lifeless, and probably short-lived as well.
That is how Jesus could speak to His Father even with others present. He had such a closeness that He could talk to Him from His heart without saying a word. At this point, we may be thinking, “Well, that might work for Him, but I’m not Jesus, nor am I the Son of God.” Yet God does not expect that of us. He knows we are just frail, mortal beings subject to the stresses of life. That is why He sent His Son to earth. He made it possible for us to have intimacy with Him and God. Jesus was subject to the same form of trials, temptations, and situations that we encounter every day when He was here on earth. The difference is, that He was dependent on God for His physical, mental, and spiritual strength to withstand or overcome these daily circumstances.
Therefore, if Jesus Himself needed to spend time with God to receive His direction and strength throughout each day, every day, we need to also. There is nothing significant about us that exempts us from ever communicating with Him. Because of what His Son did during His time here, as well as His sacrifice for us on the cross, we are able to freely converse with God anytime, anywhere. The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us to “…come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Let’s not hesitate to talk with God and make known to Him our love and praise, as well as our cares and concerns. Let’s eagerly seek Him from our heart, whether we are by ourselves or alone among many others.