One time, when I was a freshman in high school, my mom was driving my sister and me home from dance class. This happened several times a week, so it wasn’t out of the ordinary, but this particular time stands out. Back then, in our community, we could safely pick up people who needed a ride. Typically it was an elderly gentleman with Alzheimer’s who lived near us, but this one night sticks out because it was a woman and her son who we picked up. It was dark, and they were walking on the side of the road, a few bags of groceries in hand. We couldn’t just leave them–they looked terrified. My mom asked if they wanted a ride, and the woman accepted. When we asked where they were going, it was clear that English was not her first language. “Blackberry nine”. Her address*. Where I grew up, most of the street names had something to do with nature. I had ridden the bus for a few years, and the street name sounded familiar from my bus route, but I couldn’t quite pin it down to an exact neighborhood-there were dozens of streets named after berries. We headed in that general direction, but when we got there, this woman’s reaction became a household quote: “This is not famous to me.” What she knew in the light was not enough to help her in the dark. After a few more tries, we found it. Relief swept through the car. We found Blackberry nine!
I say this to highlight the importance of truly knowing something. This woman knew what her street looked like. She probably left for the store in daylight, and felt prepared to get home. But she didn’t know the surrounding areas with enough confidence to actually bring her to her front door. I will never forget her huge grin as she ran with her precious little boy to her house. Her fear subsided, and she was back to the “famous”.
Familiarity in prayer is a beautiful thing. I was recently asked how I just pray out loud and know what to say. As I have come to understand, prayer is an ongoing conversation with God. I’m just picking up where I left off with my Father. The more time I spend in prayer, the more I understand His character and the more confident I feel in His presence. Don’t get me wrong, I’m learning each and every day. I’m learning how to pray scripture. I’m learning to pray out loud. I’m learning to write my prayers. It’s a beautiful thing, and it comes with time.
Look at it like this: The way I talk to my husband is different than the way I talk to a person at they gym. The way I talk to my coworker is different than how I talk to a new patient’s mother. How I converse with my sister is…well different than anyone.(Mostly in movie quotes, voices, and emoji-worthy facial expressions) It’s the familiarity that turns “God is great, God is good” to “Father God, You are beautiful”.
I never thought I would use Will Ferrell in a blog post, but there’s a time for everything, right? Remember in Elf, when Buddy sees Santa, and yells “I know him!!!”, only to realize it’s a fake? How did he know the Santa in the store was fake? He knew the real deal. He was so confident in his relationship with Santa, that he spotted a fake right away. That is how our relationship with God should be. That familiarity allows us not only to come into His presence with a deeper understanding of who He is, but it also allows us to recognize when something doesn’t line up with His word.
On the flip side, just think about how familiar our Creator is with us. Psalm 139 is a beautiful song of God’s love for us. Verses 1-6 say:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it. (NKJV)
I would definitely urge you to read the chapter in its entirety-it’s short, but so full! I love this passage because it shows us the understanding God has of us, and it displays an awesome example of familiarity with God from the writer, David’s perspective. How did David write such an intimate song? He knew his Maker. God put that understanding in David’s heart through a lifetime of prayer and devotion. As David has been considered to be a man after God’s own heart, we should also aspire for the same closeness.
Know your Bible so well that you could navigate scripture in the dark. When you’re troubled, know where to turn. When you’re rejoicing, sing the songs of David (see James 5:13). When you hear someone speak about the Bible in a way that seems unsettling, know the Scripture so well that you can refute it if it’s wrong, or wrestle with it if it’s true. God (and His word) should be “famous” to you.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)
*Changed for her protection, on the off chance you are a stalker, and she still lives there.