In order to be able to follow the Spirit and be sensitive to all His detours, we must first have an open, prayerful heart that stays connected with God. Jesus is our greatest example of this.
No aspect of Jesus’ life shines more brightly than His dependence on prayer and communion with His heavenly Father. It is the defining characteristic of His ministry, the strength behind all He said and did. Jesus prayed constantly, at every opportunity. He prayed for sinners, for His disciples, for wisdom and guidance, for His food and water — for everything. And He often went away to be alone so He could listen for the Spirit’s voice without distraction.
Prayer is the portal by which the Holy Spirit is allowed access into our hearts and minds, and any serious inquiry into God’s guidance and direction must begin with this simple act of communication.
When we pray, we can be completely honest. Jesus knows our hearts, our motives, our thoughts, our sins and struggles. He fully understands our pain and temptation: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
Jesus understands us much better than we understand ourselves. He made us and lived among us. He knows what we are going through. And part of our being an effective tool for Christ is being willing to open up our hearts and souls to Him — allowing Him to share with us in our successes and failures.
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling bookRun, Baby, Run