May 25, 2018
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
God walks in the garden.
God walks in the garden in the cool of the day.
God walks in the garden in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve.
We can assume this is the creational intent of the Creator—to walk with his image bearers. Is this not what prayer is in its deepest essence: walking with God? We think of prayer as talking to God. If we are honest, though, we must admit we largely think of prayer as talking to God from a distance. We pray to a God who we sense is with us; just not really here. God is somewhere else.
Here’s the interesting thing about “walking.” It seems obvious to say, but you can only walk with someone you are actually with. So here’s the question: What if before prayer is talking to God, it is walking with God? Walking with God is not a metaphor for prayer. It is prayer.
Prayer is walking with God in a garden in the cool of the day. The lyrics from the chorus of the well known hymn come to mind, “And he walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own.” This is the essence of prayer—walking with and talking with God.
Remember the creedal declaration with which this series began? He, ascended into Heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. Because Jesus ascended to the right hand of God, he did not merely ascend from here to there, but from here to everywhere. And as you have undoubtedly noticed, our daily prayer now begins and ends by affirming the right here, right now presence of Jesus.
This cannot be overstated. Prayer, or as Jesus called it, “abiding,” can no longer mean speaking words to a deity somewhere out there. It must mean walking and talking with the God who is both transcendently present “at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,” and immanently by our side, closer than our breath. Indeed, this is pure mystery and yet it is the ultimate and immediate reality. To walk by faith—there it is again—means to live in this very real place called prayer.
So much of what we call prayer, from casual recitations to intense incantations, is not only less than, but categorically different from what the Bible means concerning prayer. We settle for so much less than the flourishing abundance set before us. On that point, let’s give the venerable Clive Staples the last word today. Here’s an unforgettable quote from the opening volley of his celebrated sermon, The Weight of Glory.
“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by an offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” -C. S. Lewis
“And the joy we share as we tarry there. . . .”
Lord Jesus, you are right here, right now. Forgive us for spiritualizing your presence when your are more present and available to us now than before you ascended. Give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation that I might know you better. Awaken me to your very real presence. I quite literally want to walk with you. Right here, Jesus. Right now Jesus. Amen.
- God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day. . . . is it a mythological notion, or a concrete reality in your understanding?
- Walking with God, is it a nice lofty ideal for you? Or a growing, tangible reality? How might physically walking for prayer aid this growing reality?
- How would you describe your discontent with your present reality of a daily “walk” with God? How would you describe your aspiration? How might the reality grow?
Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge here. Whenever you sign up, it will begin the following Tuesday.
J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.