As I write this article I am on some needed and enjoyed vacation time. Part of what I have been doing is simply spending time with the Master. Listening to His holy word and spending more time of intentional prayer and reflection which is as needful to my spirit as food and drink is to my body. I remember when the disciples walked the road to Emmaus twenty centuries ago, Jesus concealed His identity so that they did not recognize the “stranger” at their side. These men were not in a garden. There were no roses covered with dew. But they walked and talked with the risen Christ. What was that experience like? When their eyes were finally opened and they recognized Jesus, He suddenly vanished and they said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)
That is the normal reaction to the immediate presence of Christ—“hearts burning within us.” Oh to hear the voice of Christ, would not our hearts be afire to hear him. I think my soul would explode in joy if I could walk with Him and talk with Him. I can only imagine the things we would discuss. Would we not travel the world to find a place where Christ was visibly present. But the truth is that we can’t see God. I can’t even see His shadow. I may see the work of God in the wonder of creation. But He leaves no literal footprints in the sand, no fingerprints on the doorknob, no lingering aroma of aftershave in the morning. He is invisible because He is immaterial.
What I crave is a relationship with God that is both intimate and personal. The great barrier to intimacy is God’s invisibility. Because I can’t see Him, I tend to doubt His presence. But He is there and promises a communion and fellowship with Him. And one of a few tools that He provides to overcome the barrier is the tool of prayer. Prayer offers us a link to intimacy with God. In prayer is where we find what the saints of old called “mystic sweet communion.” And one need not be a mystic or theologian or engage in a monastic life to enjoy this mystic sweet communion. Prayer is access to God. He hears what I say to Him in prayer. He responds. Not audibly or with a vision of Himself. But when we move beyond simply speaking our requests and placing our petitions, and we choose a deliberate stillness before Him in prayer, we then enter into the arena of sweet communion. It’s a place where we penetrate the invisible and simply delight in the glory of His divine presence.
Luke 24:13-16 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so they did not know Him.