[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him (Philippians 3:10 AMPC)
Learning how to pray has been a long journey for me. From the very beginning of my Christian experience the importance of prayer was always stressed, but the actual practice was not taught. As I matured in the faith, I realised the narrowness and ignorance of my thinking and understanding of prayer.
I set off in this search as my ultimate aim in life “to know Him” – “to become closer to and more intimate with God.” This has enabled me to add a broader scope to my prayers and personal relationship with God. It was on this journey that I discovered many times that I am living far below His best for me. Far below that intimacy with Him which is my privilege in Christ. Forgive me.
To take as our ultimate aim “to know Him,” is to have an aim and purpose that nothing can interfere with or take away. The relationship begins when we first put our faith in Christ and grows over a lifetime. Sometimes our relationship seems stable. Sometimes it seems to wane. Occasionally, we might experience what St. John of the Cross described as “the dark night of the soul.” But there are also times of rapid growth, of spiritual breakthroughs, of renewal and refreshing of the soul.
Through the journey it seemed to me that the longer I serve the Lord and the more I study his Word, the less I think I truly know. With all my efforts to gain the knowledge of the Word of God, I find a deep hunger within me to know the Lord through the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, Jesus did not provide us with a detailed developmental programme of prayer. In fact, the only explicit direction he gave is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew where he emphasizes solitude and a specific focus on God as Creator and Father. The prayer that begins, “Our Father in heaven” is probably the one prayer that Christians of all denominations have in common. By tradition it is called The Lord’s Prayer.
Before any person can say feelingly, “That I may know him,” they must be brought to this point – that we never can know Christ by any exercise of the human intellect; that we never can receive such knowledge from man, whether it be from our own or from any other person’s instruction. In order therefore that we may feel our total inability to bring this knowledge into our heart, we must lie under the burden of this truth, ‘You have entrusted me with all that you are and all that you have. No one fully and intimately knows the Son except the Father. And no one fully and intimately knows the Father except the Son. But the Son is able to unveil the Father to anyone he chooses.’ (Matthew 11:27 The Passion Translation)
In desiring to “know him,” the soul desires to know everything connected with Him, and which springs out of Him. It desires, for instance, to know the virtue of His atoning blood, which is derived solely from the union of the manhood with the Godhead in one glorious Person, Jesus.
I’d like to leave you with a blessing by Max Reich. I hope these words serve you and I on our journeys that we may know Him…it should be our ultimate aim. I believe that! All else becomes secondary.
That I might know Him! Let this be my life’s aim,
Still to explore the wealth stored in His name.
With heaven-bought intelligence to trace
The glories of His sinless face:
That I might know His power day by day
Protecting, guiding in the upward way:
That I might know His Presence, calm and pure,
Changeless amidst changes, amidst losses sure:
To dwell with Him, in spirit, day and night;
To walk with Him by faith, if not by sight;
To work with Him, as He shall plan, not I:
To cleave to Him, and let the world go by:
To live on earth a life of selfless love;
To set the mind and heart on things above:
Till I shall see Him without vision dim,
And know Him as I know I’m known of Him.
Now, that my life would reflect this.