Talk to Him

My granddaughter, Selah, who is 9 years of age, visited last week. Being with her you get a kind of stream of consciousness in her communication which I found delightful. Words bubble over from her that are refreshingly honest, observations about what she sees, how she feels, what she thinks. She does not seek to be profound. She just shares herself with her words.

What a model for our relationship with our Father in Heaven. He invites us to keep an open line of communication with Him.  “Be joyful always; pray continually!” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, NIV)

I am so thankful for the privilege of conversational prayer! Before I got up today, I prayed for a friend facing jury duty, for another who is dealing with health issues, for several situations in which I desire the wisdom of the Spirit. My prayers were not carefully shaped, not even complete sentences. They were my heart talking with Abba.  Sometimes my prayers are just words of thanks or praise or wonder! Sometimes I pray in the language of the Spirit as I drive to a pastoral call with someone in crisis. 

Believe it or not, I seldom pray by getting down on my knees, clasping my hands, and turning my head towards the sky in prayer! He is not much impressed with long monologues addressed to the “One who filleth our lives with blessed beneficence, Whose Majesty we implore to rest mightily upon us.”  In our daily life, He invites us to talk with Him, our Father, Who loves us! 

Jesus taught us about praying without giving us formulas that ‘guarantee results’ as I’ve heard some preachers do.  He never suggested that we should attempt to pray in such a way that you ‘get what you want from God.’  He showed us that prayer flows out of a relationship. In fact, Jesus specifically warned about making prayer into a show. “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?” (Matthew 6:5, The Message) 

He also cautioned us about turning prayer into recitation or empty ritual. “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.” (Matthew 6:7, NLT)  It is worth noting that Jesus also said that our relationships with other people have a direct bearing on our prayer life! If we are hateful or unforgiving, we sever the connection that lets us pray from our hearts. He reminds us of the importance of letting go of the offenses of others which frees us to approach God without the weight of hate!

When we pray we should expect God to answer in the same way a beloved child expects the care of a parent. “For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” (Matthew 7:8-11, NLT) 

Please do not make that into the legal language of a contract. It is the promise of our loving Father.  He doesn’t promise that if we use the right words, adopt the right attitude, or find the right time or place, that our prayers will produce every result we desire! That would be disastrous, given our short-sightedness, selfishness, and frequently foolish prayers!  He invites us to be aligned with His heart, to ask freely and accept faithfully all that He provides.

Prayer involves mystery and faith.
God is God, I am not.
He is infinite, I am not.
He is all-wise, I am not. 
He asks only that I stay in right relationship with Him by being obedient to His Word and Spirit, living with a deep faith that trusts Him implicitly. 

2020, with all the crisis and confusion, invites us to learn to pray- not longer, not more eloquent prayers but rather those that are like Selah’s conversations with me, the unguarded overflow of our heart, an authentic expression of who we are – not childish, but child-like! I hope that we will really converse with the Lord – crying with Him when our hearts are broken, pouring out our praise to Him when life is working for us, presenting our needs and requests to Him at His invitation, and most of all; resting in His promise to love us through it all!

The word from the Word says “I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him.”  (Ephesians 1:16-19, NLT)  
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:16-21, NLT)


Lord I Need You

Lord I come I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
And without You I fall apart
You’re the one that guides my heart

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev’ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev’ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

Christy Nockels | Daniel Carson | Jesse Reeves | Kristian Stanfill | Matt Maher
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