Prayer, to the Christian, is simply communion with God, the interaction between the Christian and God. It involves the union and communion between the Christian’s entire being and God. God draws the Christian in by His Spirit and it is up to the Christian to respond with all of his being to this heavenly beckoning.
At the outset, I recognize that there are many who have reached greater heights of communion with God than I have. They are those who live constantly in the secret place of the Most High and are conscious of His marvellous presence at all times. I love such people and seek to learn from them as much as I can. For me, I can at best say that I am a visitor to this wonderful place and having tasted and seen that the Lord is good, seek to dwell permanently there. I simply seek to know and commune with the Lord, fellowship with the saints who have a kindred spirit and minister as the Lord directs. What I share here then is simply what the Lord has revealed to me during my walk with Him.
There are 3 realms of prayer –
- The sense realm (soul realm): This is the place where most Christians live. Prayer is governed mainly by the senses. The sense ruled Christian is simply concerned with “Give me” and “Bless me” and seldom looks beyond self, family and the church. Everything that affects him is a matter for prayer, especially that which causes discomfort and detracts from the life of ease. All of prayer involves asking and the asking is mainly centred on the things of this world and material needs (a job, marriage, children, finances, health, etc). A lot of talk takes place here and is mostly one sided, man to God. The soul (mind, will and emotions) govern the life and govern prayer here. Do note that there is nothing wrong with asking for bread and fish, its just that there is a lot more and we ought to press in to experience the deep of God.
- The spirit realm (human spirit) – This is the place where the spirit of man has gained ascendancy over the soul. One of the chief sources of man’s ills is the dominance of the soul over his spirit. I would like to illustrate this. Many years ago, about the year 2000 while in a church at a little town, I heard a lady across the aisle speaking in tongues. The tongue had such a lovely supernatural flow to it and sounded so heavenly and sweet. I could not but marvel at the nature of the person that was so yielded to the Spirit of God. The lady’s nature had been so taken over by God that I could sense her nature coming forth as she was speaking. By contrast, the tongue I was speaking in had a rough and a harsh edge to it. The Lord showed me that my soul was coming through even as I was speaking in tongues. There was an unbrokenness in my soul that was showing. My soul was dominating my spirit and I needed to be set free from its dominance. Brokenness can be understood as the breaking of the dominance of the soul over the being and is experienced either in the place of prayer (by the Spirit of God) and revelation (the Word divides between soul and spirit) or through a crisis event; the choice is ours. One of the disciplines to help us enter into the realm where the spirit has gained ascendancy over the soul is worship and speaking in tongues. Worship and praying in tongues edify the spirit and subdues the soul. We move out of the realm of sense domination and are conscious of the Lord’s presence. The Lord speaks to us in this place. Some of the topics I have preached on have been received while praying in tongues.
- The Holy Spirit realm (in the Spirit): John speaks of this realm of prayer in Revelation chapter 1. He speaks of being “in the Spirit” on the Lord’s day. We enter into this realm by “stillness”.
This is the place where the Holy Spirit completely fills us, dominates the whole being, where we are more conscious of the presence of God than our surroundings, where God has full sway. This is the place of stillness, where words don’t matter, there is a spirit to spirit communion with the Lord, the whole being is filled with His presence and power and the life of God is imparted into our beings. This is the place of revelation, where we “see and hear”, where we behold His glory, where the law of the Spirit of life operates to free us from the law of sin and death. This is the secret place of the Most High, the place where we are insulated from the snare of the fowler and the deadly pestilence, from the terror by night, the arrow that flies by day, the pestilence that walks in darkness and the destruction that lays waste at noon day. It is the place where we receive power to tread upon the lion, the adder, the young lion and the serpent, where no evil can befall us, nor any plague come near our dwelling. Jesus has become real. Let us seek to dwell in this secret place of the most High – the presence of Jesus Himself.