I have a regular weekly phone call with my college friend Abigail. The two of us have done Bible Studies through FaceTime and Skype, had really hard conversations, laughed until we cried and prayed our weeks in together as sisters in Christ. Lately I have been pondering the importance of prayer life. I like the term prayer life because it implies that prayer is a part of your daily life.
I have a confession though… My time in prayer has seen better days. Yes I talk to God throughout the day and pray before meals, yes I pray for someone when he or she comes into my mind or they have a request, but what about the time I am setting aside to intercede on the behalf of others and myself?
In order for us to have extraordinary prayer lives, it is extremely important to value a portion of our time with the Lord in communication with Him.
I was spending time with God today, thinking about how my prayer time can be and should be even more rich than my phone calls with Abigail and others. God is calling each of us to commune and I believe that we can respond in 1 of 5 ways.
Voicemail - Ignore Him
We could simply turn off our ears to God and neglect speaking to Him at all. I know prayer is not always the most riveting part of our faith, but that is just the lie of the enemy trying to keep us away from experiencing the power of God and having a more intimate relationship with Him. Isaiah 55:3 says to incline our ears to God and go to Him. Matthew 13:15 tells us Jesus’ parables were difficult to understand for those who were “hard of hearing”, but those with the Holy Spirit could have full understanding. Acts 17:51 even says that people can choose to “resist the Holy Spirit.”
The Line is Busy - Going to Someone Else First
This one is difficult because that person might even be very godly and have wonderful insight, but are we too busy seeking the opinions from people, rather than hearing from God. Romans 12:2 explains that we will know God’s will by renewing our minds and this can only be done through HIm. Why go to other people first who will point us to the Source, rather than the Source Himself? 2 Timothy 3:3-4 also shares that we may even turn to teachings that “tickle our itching ears.” It is easy to receive words from someone who is telling us what we want to hear, but their words may not be what God is actually saying in our situations. And may we not forget Matthew 6:33, which instructs us to seek first the kingdom of God.
Keep it Short/Shallow - Surface Level Conversation
You know those people who call you and you don’t really want to have a long discussion. Your voice can’t say “goodbye” fast enough. Sometimes we can treat our communication with God just the same. Short, not sweet, and neglecting to the point! 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 tells us that “no eye has seen or ear has heard what God has prepared for those who love Him.” The Spirit of God gives us insight into His heart and His kingdom. When we keep our conversations shallow out of fear, impatience, or hard heartedness, we eliminate the opportunity to receive all that the Lord has for us.
One-Sided Conversation - Open Mouth, Closed Ears
This one can start out with great intention of pouring our one’s heart to the Father, however this becomes less of a conversation and more of a monologue. Matthew 6:7 says, When you pray, don’t babble like the Gentiles, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. (CSB) This is a struggle area for me. Listening has never been my strong suit naturally, but with God all things are possible and He will help me grow in this area and He can help you as well. Matthew 11:15 reminds us to “let our ears hear.” Just like our mouths are always there but my not be always be talking, our ears can very well be there, but not listening. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to empower us with active listening, so that we will have better communication and relationship with God. Now, He will likely not be speaking in a clear audible voice to us, but He might lay someone or something on your heart, remind you of a Scripture verse, or lead you into a time of peace and relaxation in Him. Being still and knowing involves the action of being to get there (Psalm 46:10).
Rich Communication - Deep Relationship
Lastly, the goal is to have a deeper relationship with God. We are not seeking a formula to “arrive,” we are seeking Him to receive. Job 42:5 talks about how Job was hearing and seeing. Proverbs 18:15 tells us that the ear of the wise seeks knowledge (ESV). The fact that we have Jesus and the Spirit of God inside of us is reason to celebrate! Matthew 13:16-17 states, But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. We are blessed be a growing relationship with God because He and HIs Word are living and active. He is always loving, always moving and always speaking. Because of Jesus, there is no more requirement for a High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16), all we have to do is simply pick up our Spiritual phones and answer His call to commune with Him each day.
But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. - Matthew 6:6 (NKJV)
When God calls you and me to pray, I hope that we will have the excitement and readiness to answer the call, receive, and share all that we can in the treasured moments that He gives to us.