Jesus Says: I Call You Friends
“No longer do I call you servants…I now call you friends” John 15:15.
Prayer is not about your needs, wants and emergencies! Prayer is simply the act of coming into deeper and deeper relationship with Jesus. Relationship takes time and effort. Building levels of intimacy is ultimately building levels of trust. Just as in our natural lives, we have to spend time with someone to get to know them better, there are successive levels of friendship in our relationship with Christ. We know Him as Savior. Then, when we have spent more time with Him, we know Him as a friend. Ultimately, once we journey beyond a casual level of friendship with Jesus into a more “heart-to-heart” level, He begins to express Himself as the lover of our souls.
In the Secret Place we become as two intimates sharing a level of heart communion together. When you’re with the one you love, sometimes you don’t have to use words! Prayer becomes not as much about “doing something” as it is about being with the one you love.
Ultimately, prayer is desire expressed. What is your deepest desire? Do you desire more things? Do you desire money or fame? Jesus has a way of changing our deepest desires when we go into deeper relationship with Him. In all of our intercessions, petitions, pleading, and reminding, let’s let our desire grow for greater depths of friendship with Him.
The following are Five Stages of Friendship based on notes from James Goll. These Five Stages are naturally occurring stages of deepening relationship which parallel our spiritual progress in coming deeper into relationship with Jesus.
Five Stages of Friendship
1. Stage 1 – Casual
I speak of the world outside me (sports, weather).
2. Stage 2 – Beginning Trust
I speak of what I think and feel.
3. Stage 3 – Deep Trust
I share my dreams, mistakes, frustrations.
4. Stage 4 – Intimacy
I sit quietly with my Friend, experiencing a Presence beyond words.
5. Stage 5 – Union
I become one with that person, speaking, feeling, and acting with His reactions.
If this sounds like steps of deepening commitment in a marriage relationship, you’re right! Jesus is called “the Lover of our souls”. He is referred to as the “Lover” in the Song of Solomon, and we are referred to as the “Beloved”. In the New Testament we are called “The Bride of Christ”! We are going to have to begin to understand this level of intimacy if we want to go to deeper relationship with Him.
Along the way, we think that we are following successive spiritual levels. This perspective is a common one all throughout Christian spiritual writing. This perspective will eventually impede our process, however, because it is incorrect.
We are actually following the Spirit of God into deeper and deeper levels of ourselves. We can see this when we understand that Jesus doesn’t need Beginning Trust — He knows us through and through, better than we know ourselves.
We are the ones who need Beginning Trust. We are drawn into deeper levels of our own hearts — our own resistance, our own pain and disappointment, our own joy and profound feeling — in order that it will all be renewed in the power of His love. In this way we are strengthened in love – healed and changed to enable us to go deeper with Him as we grow through the stages of intimacy to ultimate Union with Him! You can find out more with the books, The Interior Castle by Theresa of Avila, or Union and Communion by Hudson Taylor. They are Spiritual Classics which will help you along the way into a deeper walk with Jesus.
- Not Getting Your Prayers Answered: The Purpose of Prayer (jscotthusted.wordpress.com)