The Love Language of Prayer

In the last Love Language Divine post, we learned about what the name Yehovah Elohim meant and what it means to us as the ones He created and loves. In this post, we will turn that into a prayer of praise.

I deeply believe that a vital part of this journey of learning His love language and what He communicates to us through it is communicating back to Him. Our prayers are a result of our knowledge of Him. Our journey of learning how He communicates His love and how to communicate back to Him are one.

The Our Father – the model of prayer given to us by Jesus – begins with praise (“Hallowed be Thy name”) Our journey of prayer also begins with praise, praise to the Lord God – Yahweh Elohim – Who both created us and called us to be His own.

“Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders.” – Psalm 72:18 NASB

For the hebrew version of this verse and the definitions of its hebrew words, see this link: http://interlinearbible.org/psalms/72-18.htm

Lord God

When I began studying the names of God through the Bible I circled each as I found them. All through chapter one of Genesis I circled God (Elohim) over and over again. Through the whole of the creation summation, God is Elohim. But in chapter two, there’s a switch. He is presented as Elohim Yahweh (Lord God). Why?

In chapter two, a more in-depth account is given of the creation of man and the beginning of God’s relationship with mankind. Lord is the personal name of God. It is His covenant name. While God creates and executes justice, the Lord establishes covenant and knows His people. In unity, these names paint a beautiful picture of the beginning of mankind and mankind’s relationship with Him. The same Lord who knew them would be their judge as God (how fear inspiring, and yet, how comforting); the same God who created them made a covenant with them as Lord.

No other living thing on earth would have this kind of relationship to the Creator, with the Creator. While the whole of creation was a Divine expression, mankind alone was created in His image. Mankind alone had the ability to choose Him. Mankind alone could know the language of His love, and call Him by the name Elohim Yahweh.

Elohim Yahweh, we praise You as Creator, Judge, Covenant Lord, and the One who knows us. You are great and greatly to be praised. Show us who we are, dear Elohim Yahweh – who You have created us to be and who You desire to sanctify us by Your Holy Spirit into being. Stir our hearts to thank You for all You have made, as You stir our hearts to honor all people (for You have made them in Your image.) We are in awe at the thought that Your Spirit – the Spirit of our Elohim Yahweh – abides in us as we abide in You. Cause us to abide in You more fully, hour by hour, breath by breath. Amen.

ps. I love you back/em>

Rest

I woke up this morning, excited to write about Rest. I was very convicted at the reminder that the Lord rested on the seventh day and so set it apart as holy and commanded us to rest on it to. I had these lovely preconceptions about what I thought this word rest meant. Then I read the definition in Mounce’s Expository dictionary. I was, I admit ready for something deep and poetic, something with the nice connotations of sleep. I read the definition. The definition of rest was basically “to cease.” In other words, Stop. My poetic, dream-laced ideas about the word shabot were shattered.

I don’t like the word stop, and cease sounds nicer but it still basically means the same thing, so I don’t really like it either. Everything my culture has taught me about success and happiness supports the word Go. Go Go Go Go Go. It’s very convincing. I’ll be more successful and more happy if I do things; if I stop, I’ll fail and be miserable. Isn’t that what our culture says? Stop is not a happy word.

But sabbot is. Sabbot must be. Because, it’s part of our Beloved’s love language. In His love language ceasing is resting. The truth is, we can’t rest until we stop. If we try to rest while we’re also trying to worry or work, it’s just not going to end up being all that restful. Even more than that, when we cease working and worrying and all that, we set apart space for those ceaseless things He calls us to – ceaseless prayer, ceaseless meditation, ceaseless thanks, ceaseless praise. In that space set apart our hearts have room to expand. Shabot is something to delight in. It is a beautiful, tender, set apart time. It’s a day when our Beloved has us to Himself. It’s our date with God. Our time to laugh and smile and listen and talk with and love Him. “Stop everything,” He says “I’m taking you out on a date. It’ll be our little romantic holiday. Just you and me.”

Let’s say “yes” to Him today.
Let’s say “yes” to Rest.

Holy Beloved, I thank You for shabot. I praise You, because only You could create something so beautiful and so tender. Revive us, restore us with Your Word and Your Person. Teach us how to rest in You. Teach our hearts and our hands the meaning of Shabbot. Most of all, teach us Yourself, help us get to know You better and better in this time and place of Shabbot. You are such a God of rest.

ps. I love you back.

Good

It was good…It was good…It was good…

Again and again we read these words in lilting repetition. The repetition reinforces, strengthens with each mention the goodness of what He made. This word good is “tov.” It means goodness, beauty, and moral uprightness.

The beauty aspect of goodness is really important for us remember. Too often our culture has associate goodness with a dull, stark piety. The Biblical definition, however, is far more glorious.
This true meaning of goodness should stir our imaginations… How beautiful the world must have been when the trees and the flowers, the sky and the sea were freshly and newly made by the hands of a beautiful God. How pure it was and how much the more beautiful for it’s purity. We will never see an equal to the gorgeousness of the virgin earth until we see it’s superior in the New Jerusalem. Yet when we do, that shimmering space’s pure, beautiful goodness will at best be second best in comparison to the most pure, most beautiful, and best creator Elohim.

He is Tov. He is beautiful, pure goodness. We cannot repeat it enough. We cannot praise Him for it enough. We cannot cease to be awestruck when we dare to consider that we were made in His image. We were formed in beautiful, pure goodness – by our sin, corrupted, but by His salvation restored. As the beautiful, purely good Elohim’s Spirit dwells in us, He sanctifies us. He radiates from within us that beautiful, pure goodness. If you have accepted Salvation and have His Spirit dwelling within you, you are filled with the wildly glorious beautiful and pure goodness. By His indwelling, we too are Tov!

Beloved and Tov Elohim, we praise You! From the wellspring of our souls we worship You for all that You are, for all the tov creation Your hands have formed, and for creating us and sanctifying us to be Tov by design and indwelling. We praise Your name, our beautiful, pure, good God!

ps. Oh, how I love you back./em>

day dreaming divine

A few years ago I read a book by Donal Miller. I was at my neighbors house in rural Virginia, swinging on a hammock in the summer afternoon sun, reading as he fleshed out pieces of the Bible. He made them sound so real, so living. I realized, as I read his words that he had read the Bible like I’d read my favorite novels as a child – fully imagining it all, pondering it, excavating every ounce of its beauty.

Since then, I remember this from time to time. It occurs to me today, though, as I’m reading that I should be doing this every day. It should be habit – no, more than habit – it should begin as a habit and become an impulse. Because this is a love letter from my Beloved. Have you ever gotten one of those? A love letter? The one you love tells you about where he’s been and what he’s done. You lay back on your bed and imagine the red brick of the building, imagine what his emotions and reactions would be (if you know him well, instinctively knowing) to every sight and smell. You would imagine his work, see his hands moving, seeing his eyes fixed in deep concentration…..on and on your imaginings would go. This is how we should be reading the Bible, isn’t it? If we truly believe it’s a love letter. (Which we should, I’m convinced.)

I think this is what David described in the Psalms when he spoke of longing for it to be night so that He could reflect on the Lord’s Word in this way. The Bible tells us we should be meditating on it all day and night, but it also encourages certain special times when we should sweetly, deeply day dream on the One we Love.

Lord, remind us to remember You,
cause our minds to think on You,
our hearts to feel You,
our wills to choose You,
and all of ourselves to be completely Yours.

ps. I love You back.

My Creator

אֱלֹהִים

Elohim. I love the way the word sounds on my tongue – the name of my creator and my God…. In the beginning when GOD created the heavens and the earth, that word God was Elohim. It was and is the word that embodies our Beloved as our Creator, God, and Judge.

When I began studying the names of God in the Bible from cover to cover, I found Elohim quickly followed by YHWH – the Lord. That was the name used when he was walking with Adam and Eve in the garden and stuff like that. Yahweh was the personal God who set apart His people for Himself and I found that aspect of my Beloved more appealing. In the light of Him as Yahweh, Elohim seemed less desirable, inferior even, even a little distasteful.

Wrong, I know. But it’s easy, isn’t it? It’s so easy to latch on the part of God we understand and are comfortable with and worship it instead of Him – all of Him – for all that He is. It took my Beloved pointing over my shoulder to what Eve said when, after her one son murdered the other son and was sentenced to a life of wondering that left her feeling – I can only imagine – raw and barren and guilty, horribly irrevocably guilty, since she was the one who brought sin into the world. At this moment Elohim steps in and grants her another son, Seth, through whom people return to the Lord. What beautiful grace-filled justice.

My eyes were suddenly opened to the beauty of Elohim and so many new revelations have followed – we were formed in the very image of Elohim (Gen 1:27) – formed by the same hands that mightily and beautifully formed the seas, stars, sands, and spinning universe. This was my Elohim. This is our Elohim.

Elohim, we praise You for all that You are as beautiful and mighty creator, as just and grace-filled Judge, and as our God. Amen.

Ps. I love You back.

A Begining

This is a beginning – the beginning of a new phase of my journey, and – hopefully – yours. It’s the beginning of me spilling out my heart to you. It’s the beginning of me learning how to let Him spill His heart out to you through words.

See, I’ve fallen in love with Him through words:) That journey began about a year ago when I found a list of some of His names and what they meant. As I read them aloud I felt transformation happening in my whole inner being. I felt this amazing thirst for more, for more of Him, for getting to know Him through His names. This led me to an greater journey, to know Him through every word of His, through every word of the great Love Letter He wrote to us, His Word. I’m learning to understand His Love Language – His Love Language Divine – so that I may know Him, abide in Him, have Him live in and through me, be totally one with Him. Being one with Him is the journey He calls us all to. And a vital part of that journey is learning the language of His love.

This is the beginning:) His divine love letter to us begins with that very word: “Beginning,” the Hebrew word רֵאשִׁית (reshith) How simple and how profound. That was the beginning of all beginnings. There had nothing before it but Himself. Wow. For every new “beginning,” including this one, we’re invited to turn our eyes to the One who always was, always is, and always will be. He should be our focus in every new beginning.

This same word “begining” – reshith – is used later in Exodus, Leviticus etc when the Lord tells his people to offer the first (reshith) fruits of their labor as an offering to Him. That’s what I want this post to be – a first fruit offering. That’s what I want the beginning of this journey to be – a reshith offering.

Dear Lord, we praise You for creating the world, for bringing about the beginning, and for being, Yourself, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. We praise You for Yourself, we thank You for Your Word, and we praise You for the language through which You communicate Your love.

Ps. I love You back.