What God brought to my attention this morning is that he sometimes brings us into a Higher experience of knowing him through his word and his Spirit so that we are led to pray at a level of hope, faith, and love that is a true gift of God. However, to answer the thing he led us to pray about in our Higher-experience of knowing him, he regularly must take us into some Deeper experience where we discover things about ourselves that need to be transformed (usually much to our dismay) in order for us to experience the answer to our prayers.
On the other hand, there are times when we find ourselves in some Deeper experience that shakes us to the core. In our upset feelings, we cry out to God in a prayer of desperation that puts into words things that we have struggled to think, let alone say to God. Yet we find him leading us into some Higher experience of knowing him that is exactly what our hearts were longing to see when we prayed.
The Psalms are full of examples of men praying out of their Higher and Deeper experiences of life. Asaph wrote a Psalm in which he told us how he had fallen into such a Deeper that his feet had almost slipped because he had been envying the wicked. He was overcome with jealousy for the way the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer.
However, when he went into the sanctuary and met with God, he “discerned their end” and realized he did not want to be like them after all. By the conclusion of the Psalm, he wrote some of the Highest expressions of praise, much to my heart’s comfort on many occasions, including, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”
Peter shows this Higher/Deeper experience of prayer and answers when Jesus came to his disciples walking on the water. At first, the disciples were hit with the Deeper feeling of fear because they thought a ghost was after them. Then their hearts were raised to a Higher when they realized that their Savior could walk on water. In that Higher moment, Peter called out in prayer, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus replied, “Come,” and so Peter stepped out of the boat into one of the Highest experiences of his life. As he did so, he came to know Jesus as the water-walking Messiah who enables men to walk on water. If ever there was a “spiritual high,” Peter was having it.
However, it was not many steps across the roiling waves before Peter slid down into the Deeper-experience of his lack of faith. His view of the wind and waves became so much bigger than his view of Jesus that his unbelief was exposed, he immediately began sinking into the water (as true a “Deeper” as a man could feel), which led him into a completely different kind of praying: “Lord, save me!” Again, Jesus immediately answered the Deeper-prayer, which brought Peter into the Higher-experience of knowing Jesus as the Savior of Soaking-wet-doubters.
I now understand more clearly that, when I pray to God in the good times, he is likely preparing me to see something deeper within that needs to know him in the very ways I am praying. I also understand that, when I find myself down in the depths, praying about something that seems hopelessly painful, I will always see God answer my prayer by lifting me up to some Higher experience of knowing him better than I have ever known him before.
My conclusion is simple: “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;” and, “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
From my heart,
© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)