Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Prayer: a conversation?

I have been praying since I was tiny.  I was brought up on the philosophy that if something goes wrong the first thing you do is pray about it.  And that food on the table? You thank God before you eat it.

But what is prayer really?

Many people say that prayer is like a telephone call with God.  Somehow I think prayer is a lot deeper than this.

Telephone calls are blind.  You can’t truly see emotion when you’re talking into an electronic device. 

When you’re talking to someone on the phone you don’t know what they’re thinking, and you can’t see their facial expressions or body language. What about a conversation, face to face with someone? That’s not really the same either. You may be able to see them but you can't feel them, you're not knocked over by their presence, you're not in them. 

It took mea long time to understand why I couldn’t hear God, it wasn’t because He wasn’t talking to me, it was because I wasn’t listening.

Many people have compared listening to God to tuning into a radio.  God isn’t something you can switch on and switch off.  God isn’t something that you turn a dial and find the station for. 

Yes, prayer is basically having a conversation with God but, only basically.  If you look further prayer goes a lot deeper than a simple conversation.  God lives in us; He wants a relationship with us.

Not a relationship that you just decide to switch on for a quick couple of minutes before you fall asleep, but a relationship that is 24/7.  A relationship that is a continuous conversation of love, trust, reliance, truth, and faith.  That song, ‘Be my everything’ puts it well…

“God in my living
There in my breathing
God in my waking
God in my sleeping
God in my resting
There in my working
God in my thinking
God in my speaking…
God in my hoping
There in my dreaming
God in my watching
God in my waiting
God in my laughing
There in my weeping
God in my hurting
God in my healing

God is not just in the moments we choose to let Him into, He is in everything.   

Prayer is a lot more than a simple conversation with God, it is a longer-than-life journey, and part of the foundations and building blocks to the greatest relationship I can imagine.  God doesn’t look for a flimsy, brisk, meaningless smile every now and again He loves you and cares about you, and wants to spend every moment of every day with you.  Once I started opening up my eyes and ears to God, and listened for His still small voice (1 Kings 19:12), my relationship with Him was taken to a much deeper level, I stopped saying ‘please’ all the time and started saying ‘thank you’ and rejoicing in His love.  And God’s love carries me through, His encouragement and support is beyond measure.  I haven’t managed to live in God and for God completely and wholly yet, but I am moving forward and laying building blocks towards that.

As we go about our everyday lives we need to keep God in everything, and let our lives be deeply submerged in prayer.  Listen for His still small voice in everything.

 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:12