Why is Prayer and Bible Study So Key to a Living Relationship With God?
Jesse and Becky’s Story
Jesse doesn’t remember a time he didn’t love Becky. They met in Kindergarten and Jesse loved her from the minute they were introduced. Becky with her freckles on her nose, her long dark hair, the lively eyes, and the impish smile.
But Becky was more interested in playing than in a relationship. It took a lot of patience and time to win her heart, but in their last year of college, Becky finally said, “Yes.”
And a week after graduation they were married. Jesse was ecstatic.
Married life was good.
They tried to spend as much time together as possible. They made sure they got up early enough so they could cook breakfast together and then have time to sit down and enjoy it while they talked.
In the evenings, they took walks together and discussed their days, sharing their joys and frustrations, their dreams. Or sometimes they spent time in the yard weeding and trimming bushes. It didn’t really matter what they were doing – cleaning, raking leaves, tending the lawn, cooking, walking – as long as they were doing it together, Jesse was content. He loved Becky with all his heart. And she adored him.
Sometimes Jesse would write a love poem and leave it on Becky’s bedside table so she would read it when she first woke up. She loved reading his poems. She kept them in a special box in the top drawer of her nightstand.
Becky was a teacher and she loved her job.
She loved the school where she worked. Her colleagues were exceptional and as the years went on, Becky put in longer and longer hours trying to keep up with the grading, lesson planning, and creating an inviting classroom for the children. She started coming home later and later. When she did come home, she was so preoccupied with school it was hard for her to focus and listen to Jesse when he talked.
As she got to know the children, she tried to make her lessons in such a way that the majority of the children would find them interesting. But this was time consuming and took a lot of study and planning. Becky became more and more distracted when Jesse and she were together.
When they would finally go to bed, Jesse would try to talk with her, but by then she was truly exhausted and often fell asleep within minutes of her head hitting the pillow.
Due to her physical and mental exhaustion, Becky began waking up later and later, and took to grabbing her breakfast and eating it on the way to work.
Jesse tried to be understanding. Her job was demanding, and she was really making an impact in the lives of those children, but he missed her greatly. He began packing her breakfasts for her and including little love notes.
In the evenings, he passed the time by cleaning the house and doing all the chores, so on the weekend they would have more time to catch up with each other and Becky could relax more.
However, Becky’s work began invading the weekends.
They would go to church in the morning and Becky would try to keep her mind off her work and be present with Jesse in the afternoon. But it was a struggle and more often than not, she would spend the time talking about her students, or her amazing colleagues and how much she wanted to be like them. When the sun went down, she usually began grading papers or making lesson plans “to get ahead for the week.” Sunday was much the same.
Then one of her colleagues took an interest in Becky and began mentoring her.
They would meet after school for 30 minutes or so and go out to lunch on Sunday. Soon a group of the teachers started getting together once a week in the evening to discuss how to better serve their students and share tips and tricks they were learning.
Jesse spent more and more time alone.
He began writing a love letter or poem every day and putting it on Becky’s nightstand. He hoped it would spark an interest to spend more time with him.
Becky was always kind and loving when they interacted. She always thanked him for the meals he prepared for her. When she noticed anything he did around the house, she made a point of complimenting him.
But she spent less and less time with him. And she never stopped to really talk with him, just expressed her thanks, maybe make a request of him and then she would move on to her work, or to meet with friends from work. Or if she was really stressed, she would tell him she just needed to unwind and she would get on Facebook, watch a movie, or read a book.
Then one evening, as Jesse was cleaning their bedroom, he stopped and looked at the stack of love letters on her bedside table. It was obvious she hadn’t read them. When she read them, she put them in the box in her drawer for safe keeping. But now there was a stack of letters lying there right where he put them. Jesse’s heart broke.
Jesse hired a cleaning service and then a lawn care service and started spending more time away from the house himself. Becky never seemed to notice his absence.
Finally, he hired someone to do the cooking and cleaning and stopped coming home so often himself. He started spending more time with other friends who actually wanted to socialize with him.
He waited for Becky to notice his absence.
But she never seemed to. She never complained. She still thanked him for all he did for her and the house, but she didn’t even pretend to need anything else from him. Jesse started staying at his father’s house—it didn’t hurt so much then when she ignored him completely.
Finally, after two years went by and Becky never even texted him, he sadly filed for divorce.
This is not a true story. It’s more like a parable.
I developed it to emphasize a point.
God most often compares our relationship with Him to marriage and the key to marriage is communication and spending time together.
That is exactly what prayer and Bible study are, communication between God and us. It is spending time together. That is why it is so critical to our spiritual walk.
It doesn’t matter how many good things we are doing in life; if we never spend time with God, if we never listen to what He has to say, as well as share with Him about our lives, how can we expect to have a living, relevant relationship with Him?
After all, Becky was really working hard to be the best teacher she could be and really make an impact in her student’s lives. But it was not enough to keep her relationship with Jesse alive.
Jesus Himself stated this in Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
That is a pretty shocking statement for Jesus to make after the people say they have prophesied in His name, cast out demons in His name and done many wonders in His name. I would think that if they are doing those things, they MUST have a relationship with Jesus.
But Jesus states that He doesn’t even know them. They were very busy doing all these good things, even miraculous things, but they did not have a relationship with Jesus and, as a result, they do not get into heaven.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be sure that Jesus knows who I am. I want to have a relationship with Him so that I know Him and He knows me.