There are life-altering moments that forever change the way you communicate with another person.
I once learned that an older man I did not like at all, who was arrogant and rude and obstinate and enjoyed it, had lost a child at a very young age. I still didn't particularly like the man, but I talked to him much differently after that revelation.
I remember another older man, who seemed very quiet and stand-offish, came to me with an extraordinary gift that I'd done nothing to earn but needed very much. We had never talked about the situation before, but after that moment, he and I could talk about almost anything.
Think of the month before your honeymoon and the month after. Something changed, and communication would never be the same.
Imagine Lazarus talking to Jesus before the whole resurrection thingy. Would things have changed afterward? I think it was altogether different. Why?
I see it this way: Jesus and Laz knew one another and were even friends. That's a certain basis of relationship, and a certain kind of communication flows from it. But when Jesus got into Lazarus' head from the other side of the tombstone and called his name and urged him out, the relationship was altered; the level of communication was never the same again. There must have been an intimacy there, formed from the life-giving gift of a savior, and the nature--the very core of that relationship--would have been forever altered. That means that the form, style, level, and content of communication would also be profoundly magnified.
How did you talk to Jesus when you first began your relationship with him? Has it changed?
Listening to a new Christian pray is one of the most refreshing things to a dull spirit. The honesty and lack of pretension is daring. The naiveté of non-religious words is thrilling. The intimacy of those prayers is heart-rending and beautiful. That's Lazarus prayer.
But over time, our prayers become saturated with spiritual jargon. We lose the intimacy for the sake of expediency. We stop our dependence on that communication and start considering prayer a chore, an appointment that must be kept because someone told us that this was a "discipline" and that we had to do this to make sure we didn't lose out on all God's blessings. We began to see prayer as good karma: if I do this, he'll give me that.
In reality, it is those blessings--all that is enjoyed as part of the abundant life--that is the engine to joyous, intimate prayer. But we change things around, alter the air waves of communication.
We're learning to live like Lazarus. The way Lazarus communicated with Jesus, (i.e. prayed) would have been dramatically changed on the other side of the grave. How does your prayer-experience reflect new life? What would today look like if resurrected Jesus walked through it with you?
Suggested Scripture For Today: Psalm 145
1. Today in our country we celebrate "Take your child to work day." Pick one day this week, and invite Jesus along. And then act like he really is there with you, and let your communication with him all through the day be just as real and as pertinent as if he was physically present.
2. If we talked to our friends the way we talk to God, what would our conversations be like? Spend an hour talking to God as if he were a close friend.
3. Ask someone to stand-in for Jesus. Tell them they don't need to say anything, but just to listen to you as if they were Jesus. Then talk to him.
4. Use sticky notes on the mail boxes on your block, and write some words of hope and encouragement. (Make sure it's not too windy!)