When people struggle with their prayer lives, they are struggling with their intimacy with God. The consequence of neglecting a close relationship with God can be catastrophic – personally, for a family, for a church body and for a nation.  Jesus envisioned a hope for children of God to be gathered under God’s wings like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. Imagine the closeness and protection this will provide to us. Like the mother hen, God knows how to protect and nurture His children but God’s children must welcome the protection – or forfeit it.

In Luke 13:31-35, when the Pharisees came to warn Jesus that Herod wanted to kill Him, Jesus refused to leave the city until His work was done. He accused Jerusalem [symbolizing the entire nation] of being a city that kills and stones the prophets who are sent there to it protect and provide for it. Jesus said in verse 34 “. . . How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not.” Would not what? They would not allow Jesus to draw close. They would not allow Him to be the protector and provider He longed to be for His people – and this is what led to the destruction of the Temple four decades later.

In many ways and occasions, we do the same today. Still, Jesus’ invitation stands. He wants to gather, protect and nurture us from the ravages of life. But when we reject God’s advances, we open a Pandora’s box of unnecessary trouble, hardship and difficulties.  Those who spurn God’s appeals expose themselves to an unprotected life. This is true for any individual or group of people who begin with God but then stray away from Him. God has ways of keeping our attention and helping us realize that there really is no “life” apart from His power and presence. History teaches us that those who abandon God eventually pay a very heavy price for their neglect.

Here is a God Factor to think about. God has created each of us with a definite purpose in life and therefore we need an intimate relationship with Him. Intimacy with God will help us in every area of life. Both the Bible and history teach us that God wants to be our shield from all foes who seek our demise. Think about it for a moment. He wants to gather and protect us, be our shield and our guardian – but do you want Him to? Can anyone or anything succeed against GOD? It is absurd to think otherwise, but our actions often leave us vulnerable to the elements of life. Our words can say one thing while our actions say another. Our use of time reveals our real conviction about God’s invitation for intimacy with Him.