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An evangelist told me about a trip he made to India a few years ago. Shortly after J. John arrived, he heard about a saintly woman called Sister Theresa (not Mother Teresa) who had a powerful gift of the word of knowledge. J. John was able to meet her, and he said to her, "If you have a word for me, I would be so grateful."
He said she turned around and left. He feared he had offended her. But she came back to him an hour or so later with a list of 13 items (some of which almost bowled him over they were so accurate), ending with these words, which he will never forget: "God likes your company and asks that you give Him two hours of your time every day. That's all. Goodbye." Wow!
J. John took her seriously, and he has told me more than once that he was never to be the same again.
What does prayer do for God? For one thing, He likes your company. I can't imagine a greater motivation for me to pray than knowing that God enjoys having me in His presence. He enjoys my company. He delights in listening to me! He doesn't get bored with my repeated requests. He doesn't moralize me if I get it wrong with what I ask for. He doesn't laugh at me if I put out silly, even impertinent requests. He never makes me feel stupid. There is no rejection, only total acceptance.
It doesn't get better than that. David said: "How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you" (Ps. 139:17-18, NIV).
When God speaks to us face-to-face as He did with Moses, it is impossible to say who enjoys it most—God or us. I am moved to know that God spoke to Moses face to face, "as a man speaks with his friend" (Ex. 33:11). God loved Moses' company. He loved Abraham's company, also calling him His friend (see Is. 41:8; James 2:23). What a compliment to the disciples that Jesus would say, "I have called you friends" (John 15:15). Spending time with another person develops friendship.
The thought that God likes my company thrills me more than I can explain to you. And if He likes my company, He likes yours too—He is no respecter of persons (see Acts 10:34; 1 Pet. 1:17). The same blood that purchased Peter's and Paul's salvation bought yours and mine. Moreover, it is the blood that gives all of us equal access into God's presence (see Heb. 10:19). Therefore, I can put out of my mind the thought that some people are more acceptable to God than others. One's profile in church has nothing to do with being accepted by Him—or loved or enjoyed. We are all on level ground. No one is at the head of the line just because she has a higher profile in the church, has been a Christian a longer time, has been on a 40-day fast, or has fame in the world. Being a head of state gives you no leverage. As St. Augustine put it, "God loves every person as if there were no one else to love."
I hate the thought of being a bore. I hate wasting people's time. I can sometimes tell by the look on their faces if they are not happy to see me. I fear rejection. And if I'm not careful, I can carry this fear of rejection right into the presence of God, assuming I am boring to Him too. Why should God care about me? Why should He listen to what I have to say? And why should He like my company?
It is such a dazzling thought, that the same God who has countless billions of angels worshipping Him 60 seconds a minute, day and night, to whom the nations are but a drop in the bucket and who knows all about every leaf on every tree in the world, also welcomes my company—because I am important to Him.
Indeed, I can think of no more amazing thought than this: "God loves me as much as He loves Jesus." That's right! You and I are co-heirs with Jesus (see Rom. 8:17). Jesus even prayed that we would grasp the fact that the Father loves us just as much as He loves Jesus (see John 17:26).
If there's anything that will make us blush in heaven, it will be the realization of how much we were loved on this earth—but didn't appreciate it. And if we knew how much God welcomes us when we turn to Him, we would almost certainly pray more than we do. God loves our company.
Adapted from Did You Think to Pray by R.T. Kendall, copyright 2009, published by Charisma House. This book helps you to better understand what prayer really is, why it is so important, and how you can overcome the obstacles that stop you from doing it. Learn how He enjoys your company and wants to talk with you. Prayer gives you access to God's ultimate power and He can make anything happen. To order a copy click on this link: