We’ve heard, former procrastinators, “Prayer is conversation with God.”
Focusing on this definition, I realize I’m a poor conversationalist.
Do you feel unsatisfied after devotions? Do you still carry the weight you came with? Do you feel like you have to pray certain things in a certain way in order to “cover it all”? Do you have “fallback prayers” that enable you to check the quiet time box? Do you feel heard?
I wonder…Does God feel heard by me?
Often conversations between people resemble this:
Mary: We had a wonderful meeting today. I’m touched by the needs of those people. How do they survive?
Jane: Nice. We’re having a leadership crisis at work and the effect on all of us is serious. I’m about fed up.
Mary: I want to help them. How can I do anything from here? My heart goes out to those poor, hungry people.
Jane: I’ve written a letter of resignation and I’m ready to turn it in.
Mary: If I can reach the speaker, maybe I can learn something helpful I could do.
Jane: I need this job too much to walk away. But I can’t go on like this.
We talk past each other, not really engaging. Is that how conversation – on my part – goes between God and me? Do I delay giving Him full attention?
It has dawned on me in a new way that God speaks to me every time I read the Bible. He actually reaches out for my attention. He has something to say to me personally from His Word. Am I listening? Do I respond by seeking clarity or direction from Him about the words I read? Or do I read the scripture, close it up, and pray about something entirely different? Do I talk past what God said or do I engage with Him on His topic? Either way, He listens to me.
Long ago I was urged to pray scripture. That’s been helpful. I’ve also been encouraged to “picture” the Lord sitting nearby. Now, reading scripture, I picture Him with me, leaning forward as He says what’s important to Him. Where the Bible says “He” I sometimes substitute “I” since He is talking to me about Himself. Where appropriate I sometimes say “I” meaning myself. (We never want to twist scripture.) This helps me listen to the Lord and respond to what He says in His Word. And of course, I bring Him matters on my heart. I can listen for His response.
It’s easy to put off changing how we pray. But if we step out of our comfortable pattern, we can find new life as we respond to His Word to us. When Bible reading and prayer are tightly interwoven, the sense of satisfaction and of having been with God grows deeper.
How did God seek to engage you today? How did you respond?