Prayer is Like Bacon

 

Prayer is like Bacon 

I remember as a child, I fought quite a bit.  I did not stay in trouble, I did well in school and all, but it was a bi-annual thing, I fought just about 2 times per year from the time I was in the first grade until about 5th grade.  One fight in particular comes to mind because it happened on the last day of school before easter.  this day, I got into some words with this kid Lorenzo earlier in the day, I don’t remember about what but he threatened to jump me after school.  Now a threat of getting beat up was not particularly rare so I did not pay it any mind until I was face down in snow getting hit by him and his brother after they ambushed me on my walk home. 

Like I said, fist fights were not uncommon but they gave me a fat lip and it was the last day of school before easter.  As I got up from the pile of snow I was upset that I had gotten jumped but all I could think about was my parents being mad with me because my face was jacked up before easter.  This was back in the day when we would be dressed out.  My grandmother had already bought my suit at Christmas, haircut was already on tap, shoes were new, pictures were going to be in full effect and of all of the days of the year to look like I had been fighting this was not it. 

So I got home and once I saw the damage I tried to fix it up. But despite my pretend skills and having played the game operation, I could not reverse the damage of my swollen busted lip,  just imagine an eight year old trying to hide a busted lip.  Toilet tissue, blood, soap, rubbing alcohol….. it was a mini surgical center in my bathroom in an attempt to address my face before my parents got home. 

After I resigned my self to not being able to fix my face, I know running away was not an option, so I figured that hiding was an option.  I could hide in the hallway closet until after Easter.  Now this was likely Thursday because we did not have school on Good Friday, so I figured I could hideout there for the next three days and by that time my lip would have healed as well. 

It was not uncommon for my sister and I to hide in the house from my parents. Sometimes my father would look for us sometimes he would not, but from what I remember, on this day, my father came home I hid, I just remember that several hours later I woke up and my mom was home and I was asleep in the closet and kind of figured out that my plan to hide all weekend was not going to work. So I emerged from my top secret hiding place in the hallway closet.  Now this is was not a huge house, we were in a three bed two bathroom apartment, maybe 1000 sq feet.  So I am sure they either knew or had an idea where I was.  But I came out and sustained the scolding I got for getting in a fight, for getting beat up and getting my face messed up.  But Easter went on as scheduled.

Almost forty years later when I think back, I wonder what was I hiding for.  I was hiding like most people when they don’t want to face someone because they have done something wrong, don’t want to hear what they have to say are ashamed and don’t want to face the consequences or a combination of these. 

Prayer is like Bacon

The first instance of hiding is recorded in the Bible in Gen 3:8.

God Created man in His Own image.  The moon reflects the light of the sun to the earth to illuminate the darkness of night.  It would be just a large dull rock if it did not reflect the sun. When the moon does not reflect the sun’s light, our Earthly nights are the darkest. 

We best reflect  God who’s image we were created in when we reflect His light.  We best shine His light when we seek him out to be in His presence. Seeking Him out to be in His presence is prayer.  

In Gen 3: 8 Adam and Eve heard God walking towards them in the Garden of Eden,  instead of seeking to be in His presence, they tried to hide.

Now this is interesting because God is omnipresent, (He is everywhere). So because he is everywhere, he was where they were, could see where they were and what they were doing. I don’t know whether he took on a physical form, whether it was the just His voice, lightning or thunder, but they were familiar with the sound of God.   Before they had sinned, if they heard the voice of the Lord God coming toward them, they would have run to meet him; but now God was  a terror to them, annnnnndddddd they lost some trust in one another….

Eve ate from the tree of knowledge, then gave the fruit to Adam who also ate it.  Once they ate of the fruit, their eyes were opened. But not in the way they thought…. They were expecting to be equal to God … they gained knowledge, and it was not what they were hoping for. They now understood many things, not just the good and the beautiful that their life under God’s instruction afforded them, but evil as well.  They knew and could choose evil.


Genesis 2:25 tells us pointedly that before their sin, disobeying God Adam and Eve were both naked and unashamed. They were truly innocent, so their nudity was sinless and free of shame. Now, instantly, they were aware and ashamed. Though they’d never worn clothes before, the knowledge of evil created a fearful urge to cover themselves, to hide from each other, to mistrust the other person’s motives and thoughts, and to protect themselves.   This is what God warned them for, and wanted to protect them from, but they chose their own path.  And this was part of the consequence,  a compulsion to Hide from God and from each other.

First, They were ashamed, So They hid.  Like me hiding in a closet in a small house, they hid in the garden amongst the trees.  Two grown people, hiding dressed in fig leaves, hiding.  Just like my parents knew I was in the house God knew where they were, but He asked, Where are you?

God knew the answer already.

We have all been in this situation where we know the answer to a question and ask someone for an answer. It might be for entrapment, it might be for them to explain, it might be so that they can hear themselves speak. In this case it was God’s invitation to Adam to talk to him.

God asked, where are you, Adam responded, in v 10, I heard you in the garden, I was naked so I hid.

Adam, did not answer God’s question.  He did what people often do, they say what they think best suits them instead of answering the question at hand. But God knowing where they were did not push that any further. He did not say, where are you again.  He like an adept attorney on cross asked the next question to get to His point. 

God said, in v 11, who told you that you are naked?   Remember the only characters in the story up to this point are Adam, Eve, the Serpent and God.  Don’t you think God knew the answer to this question?  

Then he went right to the crux of this chapter, and asked did you eat from the tree I told you not to? Again, he already knew, and again Adam did one of those shuffles and tried to pass the buck.  He was probably looking down, sweating, stuttering, doing all of the things nervous people do…

Adam never answered who told them that they were naked, but did blame God and Eve for him eating the fruit. 

In verse 12 He said the woman you put here with me, gave me fruit from the tree.  And I ate it.   So it’s yawls fault.  (pointing)

This is the first recorded dialogue between Adam and God between mankind and God.  Adam was living with the consequences of His actions He was ashamed, then tried to cover himself with fig leaves, then hid and denied culpability when God came looking and questioning .. …

Adam did not realize Prayer is like Bacon

God is always looking for us. ….. He is always looking for us to address HIM.  He knows where we are, He knows what we are doing. But He wants us to talk to Him, to listen to him, to communicate with him to commune with him…., this is  prayer. 

Prayer is spending time with God, having a conversation with God.   It may consist of adoration, or an expression of our sense of God’s glorious perfections, confession of our sins, supplication (requests) for mercy and forgiveness, intercession for blessings on others, and thanksgiving, or an expression of gratitude to God for his mercies and benefits, it can even be complaints. It may be unrehearsed, written or printed.

It is only through prayer that one can move from knowing about God to knowing God personally.  You can and should read the Bible and talk with other people, but you only get to KNOW God personally through prayer. 

prayer is always available to us. Nothing can keep us from approaching God in prayer except our own choices (Psalm 139:7; Romans 8:38-39).

(SLOW)Very broadly stated, prayer is acknowledging God’s presence and responding. 

His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.  I would sing it if I had that talent.  This Is a famous Gospel lyric deduced from scripture.  Psalm 32:8

    When I kept silent about my sin, my [b]body wasted away
Through my [c]groaning all day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My [d]vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. [e]Selah.
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”;
And You forgave the [f]guilt of my sin. Selah.
Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You [g]in a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.
You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with [h]songs of deliverance. Selah.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

Matthew

I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.  while he kept silent, his bones wasted away.  But when he talked with God, God relieved the burden of the sins that were keeping him down.  Verse 8 states God is watching and guiding.

We see in the Garden that God has His eyes on His people. They sense His presence and they talk to Him, despite their shame, despite their sin.  His eyes were on them. His eyes are on you….

God is paying attention to you.  He is watching you,  He is seeking you. He attends to you. 

Prayer is like Bacon.

Prayer is not a giving God information He does not know. But It is an act of humility.

Prayer requires us to admit that perhaps we don’t quite know it all, despite the expectations of society, we do not have it all together.

In the garden, once they sinned, They tried to go about their business without God, and whether their ridiculous leaves did the job or not, they did not cover them like the skins God provided. (a foreshadowing of Jesus sacrifice to cover our sins) 

They thought they were doing something, with some leaves, I can’t help but think of Rush Hour 2 where Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker were running down the highway with garbage can lids to cover themselves after they got robbed and stripped. Their leaves may have worked for a minute, but it took God to truly cover them to truly resolve their shame, solve their problem, give them peace. 

God sought Adam. Adam hid, but did come out.   God seeks us. Regardless of our sin or situation, we must seek him.  In seeking Him, we are covered.  There are a multitude of reasons to pray, but we pray as a means of seeking Him.  When we seek him, we can hear his direction, we get covering, we are protected.

You know how in the movies, when someone is being looked for and they decided to go meet whoever it is that is looking for them so they go to their HQ and when they go, they get frisked for any weapons, then sit and speak with the BOSS.  In many of these movies while they are in the presence of the BOSS they are safe.  Prayer places us in the presence of the BOSS. While in the presence of the BOSS we are safe. 

 IT is usually the ones who are running from the Boss that get in serious trouble when they get caught.  Don’t run.  Even Adam and Eve in their shame, came out of hiding, surrendered and talked with God. 

At the most difficult moment in history, where Jesus The one moment where Jesus was separated from God, Jesus screamed out “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” That is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” why have you forsaken me.  He did not say why am I in pain…. Why is this happening.  He was in such physical anguish because God was not seeking him and the weight of the worlds sins were on him.  If in His time of despair a pain a burden like nothing anyone has ever experienced, Jesus screamed out for God’s presence among the entire universe of options, don’t you think seeking God who is looking for us to walk with Him might be wise.  And we don’t even have to scream.   

There are 367 references to prayer in the NIV version of the Bible.  We are told to pray about everything without ceasing.  In other words we should be talking with God about everything all of the time as Jesu directed:

Whether it is for there to be heaven on earth

Whether it is to know his will

Whether it is for your food, finances, friends or family

Whether it is for forgiveness …. Forgiveness for what you have said, or done (you need a pardon)

Whether it is for the strength to forgive those who have done you wrong

Whether it is to keep you from eating of the tree of knowledge, delivering us from what we are not supposed to do.

God wants you to pray

It was in this conversation in the Garden that God cursed the serpent who he said would be beneath all other animals, would crawl on His belly, be the enemy of the woman, and would be crushed the offspring of woman.

This was hope, this was grace…. This was the first sign from God to Adam and Eve that they that they had a fruitful future.  God said that their offspring would smite the serpent.  By talking with God they learned that they would have children who would get back at the Devil. 

God cursed both Adam and Eve.  Though He had given them permission to eat of the tree of life in Gen 2, God now took away Adam’s access to the tree of life.  

In our quick incomplete understanding of God, without prayer and spending time with God we might reduce that this is a punishment.  But remember, In the Garden before they had eaten of the tree of knowledge, they were not aware of, exposed to, conduits of and victims of sin.  Now they were.  This fallen state is exponentially miserable compared to life in God’s presence, which they had experienced in the Garden.

Therefore, the prospects of living forever seemed great while they were without sin, but once they experienced something less than God’s glory, the prospects of living forever in this fallen state, was comparably appalling. 

The sentence of eventual death, was a punishment inflicted for man’s good, intended, while exposing him to temporal death, to preserve him from eternal death. As it is in death that man can again be in God’s presence as they were in the Garden.

Prayer is like Bacon

———————-

Just like the quality of our communication determines the quality of any relationship. You can’t be in a relationship with someone and never talk to them, can you?  God is always watching and waiting on us to talk with Him. Through prayer, our communication with God we experience relationship with God. The quality of our prayer life determines the quality of our relationship with God.

Communing with God gets our hearts right in order that our wills are in line with God’s will. Once our will is in line with God’s, we can be sure that whatever we ask of Him will be given to us because we will always be asking for what is in His will. 

Of course there are times when we ask for other things, and then we cannot be sure how he will answer; for our prayers may not be according to his will. Our prayers do not change God’s will or challenge his control; but they draw us into loving fellowship with him in his rule.

God could just rule from on high, but  he has chosen to govern the world in fellowship with Christ’s people.  He wants to know where you are.  He wants you to participate in your governance. There is nothing more true in the study of God.  The thrust of God’s communication with mankind since Adam and  Eve has always been relational. That’s why He wants us to pray. 

Are you putting on fig leaves and hiding in the trees or are you talking with God?

If you have never really prayed, I urge you to give it a try. After all, the Bible tells us that your prayers will be met with God’s delight (Proverbs 15:8, Psalm 149:4). The act of prayer leads to the patience, protection, peace, and perseverance we all so desperately need. 

I am a vegetarian and even I know that bacon makes everything taste better. 

Like Bacon,  prayer makes everything better. 

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