Have you met the interns yet? They're pretty amazing. The following post is from Nick Holmstedt a recent graduate of Hamline University. He has a knack for making friends easily and even though he doesn't really like coffee, we try not to hold that against him.
One week while tabling on campus, we asked a question related to Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages: “In what way do you primarily display love?”
In addition to the conversations we had that day, the thought has been on my mind for a variety of reasons. As I sat to write this blog, the question returned in a new form: how do the love languages relate to prayer?
Prayer is central to our lives as followers of Jesus. If we don’t communicate with God, how can we expect to grow towards Him? So I should be invested constantly in prayer. Jesus was, Paul was. Yet even with clear models and an understanding of prayer’s power, I seem to dilly dally around my thoughts rather than decisively communicative with my Father.
Sometimes the thing that helps me establish my disciplines the most is to step back and focus on the vision, to see where the river’s heading. This is where we loop back to the love languages. Prayer is a wonderful application of the love we share of God through Christ. It is multi-purpose and addressed to our sovereign God who adores us. It is a beautiful gift. This is one of the five love languages- gift-giving. Clearly, God has bestowed upon us more gifts than I could possibly recite here (check out the Bible for a hearty glimpse into that). But, I believe prayer is a gift- the ability to chat with our Savior and Father Himself? Name something else you’d want for your birthday. And more, we can gift back to God by simply using that which He’s given us! Prayer is a gift both received and given.
Prayer can involve many things, but it often occurs as words. The second love language is words of affirmation. I believe there’s a reason we pray using words (though certainly you could prayer through other devices than your tongue). The outpouring of our heart and mind in these words- and to receive the Word Himself- is another intimate connection with God.
Acts of Service. If we’ve set our hearts to serve others, shouldn’t we be praying for them? Prayer is an irremovable element of our service, because we rightly request that the God who sees all and has the power to truly transform works exactly that which He loves to do.
God is here among us, and the closest we can get to Him is in our quiet place, in our heart of hearts, our soul and it is from there that we pray our deepest prayers. There is something special about actual, tangible physical contact, the next love language. I believe prayer offers a way for us to feel that unique connection without clammy hand to clammy hand contact. It’s truly special because it’s a relationship to God that we cannot have with another (because, if you’re praying to someone else, that’d be called idolatry).
Finally, quality time. I believe it’s worth recognizing that this language of love is more than just quantity time. Quantity is related to quality, but correlation is not causality. Take your time to fall in love with God through prayer- listen and speak with all the truth and vulnerability and ooshy-gooshyness you can muster.
With my vision of prayer rooted in these values, I can get excited again to dive deep towards God. But even with vision, I have to remember patience and perseverance. Take time to pray, because its value is in the immeasurable quality of our relationship with God!