Communicating with God

3 12 2010

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22)

What is prayer? For many of us it’s 5 minutes before we go to bed. A half-asleep list of requests to an abstract god in the sky. For some it’s 20 seconds before a meal, to say grace and bless food with no motivation outside of ritual. It’s a short plea for help before a test not studied for, and a call out to see if anyone is really listening when  no one else is left.

But what is prayer supposed to be? Prayer is our communication with God. It is a give and take conversation between friends, full of listening and talking, advice and requests, praise and frustration. Paul tells us in Thessalonians to “pray continually.” Do we do this?

The more I thought about prayer today, the more I realized that I probably do it all wrong. Thank goodnees that God doesn’t keep a list of wrongs or love me any less for my bad communication!

For me, being a Christian is not about having a religion, but it is ALL about having a personal relationship with the one true God, a relationship made possible only through the sacrifice of His son Jesus. In lieu of this amazing opportunity to relate to God, we should be overjoyed at the mere possibility to speak and hear directly from God.

But in order to have a relationship, we have to relate to God. We need to communicate with Him on a regular basis. I think of the relationships I have with my friends, or with my Dad. I can’t have a true relationship without communication. If i just picked up the phone once a day, called my Dad and said “Hi! I’m stressed out and need gas money. Bye!” and hung up the phone, that wouldn’t be a relationship at all. (By the way, I’m not stressed out and I do not need gas money). Same with my friends, if they tried to talk to me and I was so busy that they couldn’t get a spare second of my time, we would very soon cease to be friends.

So why is our relationship with God any different? He wants to talk to us, to listen to us, to live life with us, just as a friend, or a parent or a spouse would. But if we leave Him out or stir up too much noise in our lives, we can’t hear Him. That’s why it seems hard to converse with God. Sometimes it feels one-sided. If we aren’t hearing from God, its hard to keep a conversation going by ourselves.

Noise and busyness are two reasons I think we don’t hear from God as often as we would like. We are constantly surrounded by TV, internet, music, people, traffic, iPhones. When was the last time we sat in complete silence? For me, it has been awhile, because I have to make a sincere effort to do it. But God speaks to us in whispers, not in shouts, in feelings and slight nudging. Without peace and stillness before God, my conversation with Him will indeed be one-sided and difficult. We were made to be used by God in His will, and to be still before Him, not to try and do it all ourselves. How can we hear direction when we are already acting? As my friend Clint told me, “we are human beings, not human doings.”

In His love,

Stacey (with help from Clint)

 

 

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