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Growing in a “get to” vs a “have to” posture of prayer

Growing in a “get to” vs a “have to” posture of prayer

by Jill Garrett

Fall…  A fresh, clean slate for students and their families.   

As a Mom of two twentysomethings, glancing back, I always welcomed fall and the new school year.  I was more than ready to have our family back on a schedule. Those very first days of the school year, I never felt like it was a chore to set my coffee pot & alarm clock for 6am. My spirit soared as I made those two little lunches. Waking up my girls was a breeze. Those first few weeks seemed to be miraculously devoid of whining and complaining. The attitude for us all was: this is a “get to” rather than a “have to.”

Jesus taught in parables that for every physical reality there is a spiritual truth to be applied.

When I first came back to Christ as a young adult, in the beginning, I couldn’t wait to wake up and get into the Word. I loved this time! I would sit, talk and listen for His voice (John 10:27). I would journal until my right hand gave out, forcing me to stop.  Spending time in His presence was what fueled my compassion for Him and for others. Initially, this was an absolute “get to” but over time I found myself approaching God with a sense of compulsion--more like a “have to.” I believed if I wanted God to bless me, my marriage, my children and my ministry this was something I “had to” do.   

What I didn’t know then that I know now is this: I was choosing to place myself back under the Law. I began to strive in order to receive what was already mine through grace.  We don’t have to work to earn God’s approval or blessing. In Christ Jesus, it is already ours. We can’t add anything to the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus and we certainly can’t subtract anything from it. It is already a completed work!  

My heart began to desire what I had with God in the beginning. A time when I wasn’t just seeking knowledge, I was seeking Him.         

So one morning, with the desire in my heart only for His presence, I sat surrounded by devotional books, my Bible, pens, journals and highlighters and I heard the Spirit gently whisper into my spirit “Put away the books. Where do you want to go?  Come away with me.”  

Let me add this little disclaimer before you think I’m a little off… God created us in His image; He also created our imagination.  David cried out in Psalm 27:4 with the same desire I felt for God: to simply be with God, behold His beauty and meditate in His temple.   

Meditation is not just for yoga. It is absolutely Biblical. We can close our eyes and see beyond the darkness. We can open our minds by meditating on the Truth. Truth is a person. He is Jesus.  

So… I pushed away my books and I answered, “Okay, God.  If we can go anywhere, I’d like to walk with you by the Sea of Galilee.” I have stood there before and in my mind I could easily see the rocky shore and the water lapping. I envisioned Jesus standing there. I grabbed hold of His hand and we began to walk. I said, “Where are we going?” He said, “Why do you always ask that? Can’t you just enjoy the moment?” I laughed. Wow. He knows me well. This was exhilarating! Peter 1:8 says, "Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with an inexpressible and glorious joy."   

That is one of my all-time favorite verses because sometimes… being completely honest… it is hard to have an intimate conversation with someone you cannot see.  I know we are called to walk by faith and not by sight but I also know from experience, He is more than willing and able to paint the pictures. So what IF I made it all up in my mind?  The results were life-changing. My intimacy level with Him began to flourish spending time in His presence. My time with Him became a “get to” again not a “have to.”     

The next day, I couldn’t wait to wake up! My heart’s desire? To be in His presence, to behold His beauty and to meditate in His temple.  I sat down. “Good Morning Lord. Today, I want to come into the Throne Room.” I knew the scene. I had studied it. I had taught it. Revelation Chapter 4. Read it and picture the scene in your mind. 

The door to heaven is standing open. The voice that had earlier sounded like a trumpet said  “Come up here.” I could see myself entering in to the Throne Room. The Word describes it so beautifully, so powerfully. I saw Jesus seated on His throne and He was patting His lap, saying “Come up here.”  

I was physically still seated at my dining room table but as I opened my spiritual eyes and ears, spiritually, I was seated in the loving lap of my Savior. I gleaned new understanding of Ephesians 2:6 which says, God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms.  

The Throne Room is heaven’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week praise party! We join in heaven’s praise and “get to” sing with all of heaven, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” The door is open for anyone who believes that Jesus is Lord. Jesus, through the torn veil of His body allowed us to enter in through Him.  

If this sounds like a “get to” to you, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Jesus doesn’t NEED you to come to Him.  He wants you to. Basking in His presence will transform your heart, mind and soul.        
  2. In His presence, there is nothing but perfect love.  Here you find spiritual rest for your weary soul.
  3. You will be in training practicing being before you get up and do anything.  Being before doing, you will serve God & others from a place of compassion (a get to).  Doing before being you will actually serve God and others from a place of compulsion (have to).  The fruit each position bears is very different. Read the story of Martha and her sister Mary.  They are the perfect example of being prior to doing.      

Helpful Hints….   

  1. Put your phone away 
  2. Quality over Quantity  ​
  3. Play Kim Walker Smith’s song Throne Room
  4. Expect your flesh to put up a fight.  Surrender & Yield to the Spirit. Get in this holy posture and get up and live, love and serve others like Jesus.  


Heavenly Father, you are a good, good Father.  Thank you for sending Jesus to show us grace & truth.  Thank you that because of what Jesus accomplished, we “get to” enter into the Holy of Holies.  We “get to” bask in Your presence. What a privilege it is to dwell in Your house, to behold Your beauty and to meditate in Your temple!  Your Presence changes us. I pray for every person reading this to be drawn into a deeper walk with you; to be refreshed by Your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

May 14, 2020

In this time of the COVID virus, this is a powerful message. Thank you for sharing!!

Mary Ann Polhemus
Apr 27, 2020

Very inspirational. God bless

Jan 20, 2020

Beautiful message!

Nov 20, 2019

This message truly spoke to me. I have long struggled with the “right” way to pray and what I need to do daily. The message opens up my heart and mind to a different perspective of connecting and enjoying my time with our heavenly father.

Nov 12, 2019

It is good to be reminded we are blessed every day that we get to choose ever lasting life.

Sep 23, 2019

Thank you for reminding us that we are BLESSED by the opportunity to spend time w the Lord. How awesome that His door is never closed- no matter what time of day or night we come to Him. And He will meet us wherever we are on our journey. Even the times that start out as a “have to” end up being a blessing and reminding me that I need to spend this time!

Sep 23, 2019

I loved this!

Sep 23, 2019

What a beautiful message! Thank you!

Sep 23, 2019

Thank you

Sep 23, 2019

A very inspiring message. Thank You!

Sep 23, 2019

Thank you for such an inspirational message! I too struggle with intimate times with Jesus & being in the presence with Him. Thank you for reminding me that thru His Grace we can all be right there with Him, wherever we are in our own walk of Life. Blessings🙏

Cheryl Clifford
Sep 23, 2019

How inspirational. She is so tuned in to being present. I struggle with that! Can’t wait to ‘get to’ my reading today and spending time with Jesus

Janice Fresh
Sep 19, 2019

What a beautiful reading. Thank you for your prayers and inspiration. I will look forward to seeing more of them

Robin Donoho

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