Yesterday we looked at prayer as the most important part of your devotional time with God. We saw in several Bible passages that He has invited us personally to come to Him in prayer. Finally, we said that prayer must be a 2-way conversation with God.
Think about it. Have you ever had a relationship with someone who only came to you when they needed or wanted something, who only talked about their problems and then walked away? They never give you a chance to respond, and they aren’t willing to spend the time even to give you a chance to answer. Gets old fast, doesn’t it? So why would God (who made us in His image – that includes our emotions) not feel the same way? Yet that’s the ‘relationship’ many of us have with Him. And yes, it bothers God too. Here’s an example.
Zechariah 7:11-13 (NIV) “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen… So the Lord Almighty was very angry. “When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
We call on Him when we have a problem, and more often than not, the problem is physical (someone is sick) or material (money, better job etc.). We fail to even mention that which is most important to God, and that is our spiritual state. Of the 3, that’s the only one that matters for eternity! Then to top it off, when we’re done with want we want to say, we throw out an ‘amen’ and walk away. I can just picture Jesus standing where I left Him with His finger in the air and His mouth open as I ignore Him and turn my attention to something else.
John 6:63 “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.”
Two-way communication is essential to a healthy relationship, whether between human beings, or between us & God. We have to realize that if we don’t have that in our relationship with Him, it’s not because He’s not speaking to us. He is, constantly, in many ways. It’s just that we are either not listening, or we simply don’t know how to recognize his ‘voice’.
Excerpts from Isaiah 55:1-11 (NIV) “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live…” Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon… “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
As you go to prayer today, prepare yourself for a time of listening, as well as a time of speaking. Here’s an interesting experiment. Give Him the same amount of time that you spoke. I’ll bet it will seem like a lot longer – at first. Do it anyway.