"The Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to Him." (Deut 4:7)
We've all had those times when we feel as though God is distant and our prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling returning to us with a dull thud as they drop lifeless to the floor. We want them to reach the Throne Room, to be included in the golden bowls of incense described in Rev 5:8. Instead we have this nagging sense that our time of prayer has been completely wasted.
Closer Than You Think
The Scripture says that God was near to His people under the Old Covenant whenever they prayed. It doesn't say that they had to be ritually clean or without sin. It doesn't say that they had to pray with faith or with right motives. It just says that whenever they prayed God was near.
If that was true under the Old Covenant, how much more so under the New. No matter how we feel when we pray, the Lord is close. Sometimes we forget just how close He is.
As Little Children
I remember working for a while with YWAM and overhearing a conversation between an evangelist and a young woman with severe learning difficulties. He asked her if she knew where Jesus lived. She replied that He lived in heaven. When asked if she knew where else He lived she said, "He lives in my heart". On another occasion one of my children came to me when he was about 5 years old and said, "Mummy, there's something special, Jesus lives in my heart".
Sometimes we make things more complicated than they are. Both of these individuals understood by experience what Scripture teaches, that Jesus by His Spirit takes up residence not just with us, but within us (Jn 17:22-23, Rom 8:9-11). When we pray we are not simply talking to the God who dwells in heaven, but the One who has come to live at the centre of our being and is nearer to us than our own breath.
Prayer College Assignment
When you feel the distance between you and God is too great for your prayers to bridge, remember that He is within you. Instead of trying to reach heaven with your prayers, simply let them settle in your heart. Then you will begin to experience how intimately close the Lord is whenever you pray.