Prayer – It Takes Two to Converse
|Young Man praying|
digitally altered in Photoshop
Prayer is how God reveals his desires and directives to us. It's how he communicates with us. Too often, over the last few years, I've found myself at a ministry meeting where the meeting was opened and closed in prayer and I wondered why. Were we in fact inviting God into our midst, seeking his will for his Church? Or were we praying (speaking a short monologue in God's direction) because prayer was the first item on the agenda, because it's a church meeting and it just seems like something we should do? Did we expect a response from God?
I'm asking myself if I, as I pray, expect God to answer. Am I listening for his voice in the conversation? Am I talking with God or speaking at him? And I admit that I am disappointed with my answers. But, here's the good news—God is still happy to speak with me and spend time with me. He isn't holding my inconsistency against me, but encouraging me to grow and build on the foundation of faith that is there. He has not taken his Spirit from me and, in fact, has been guiding me all along, even when I didn't stop to seek his guidance.
God is tenacious in his love for us always and is faithful to his promise to never leave us. He is our God and we are his people. That doesn’t change in God’s eyes during those moments when we neglect to include him—THE omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, Eternal God—in the conversation. If it's been a while since you've had a real conversation with God, I encourage you to do it right now. Do not fear, for you are not approaching God as the cowardly lion trembling as he makes his way to the throne room of the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, but as a child running home yelling, "Guess what Daddy, guess what!" God is waiting for you to start the conversation so that he can tell you how much he loves you.
To have God speak to the heart is a majestic experience, an experience that people may miss if they monopolize the conversation and never pause to hear God's responses.
Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. Gods voice in response to mine is its most essential part.
Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one's heart. It means rather to find the way to God and to speak with him, whether the heart is full or empty.
Do you approach God in prayer as the cowardly lion or as a child running into his father’s arms? Are you talking with God or at God? What do you need to do to make your prayer time more of a two-way conversation? Take some time in prayer concentrating on listening to God’s part of the conversation.