Is God Listening? Is God here?
Devotional thought of the day:
“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. 8 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!Matthew 6:7-8 (NLT) 7
463 Your prayer will sometimes be discursive; maybe less often, full of fervour; and, perhaps often, dry, dry, dry. But what matters is that you, with God’s help, are not disheartened. Consider the sentry on duty. He does not know if the King or the Head of State is in the palace: he is not told what he might be doing, and generally the public figure does not know who is on guard. It is not at all like that with our God. He lives where you live, He cares for you and knows your inmost thoughts. Do not abandon the guard-duty of your prayer! (1)
One of the more interesting challenges I have, is teaching my son how to pray. Not the words to say, he has that down, but how to realize that prayer is a conversation with God. That God is there, that God is listening, that God is present.
For a very intelligent 6 year old, who can read like a teenager can eat, what isn’t in front of him, visible, is hard to see. It is hard not to see prayer and simply something we do together, a time we spend together. Body language and voice intonation lets me know he is involved, yet not quite discerning the presence of God. At least that seems to me to be what I’ve seen over the last year or so develop.
I look at people, and are we any different? As we gather, two or three, together. As we pray together in Church, never mind if I dare ask people about their prayer habits. I’ve thought about the pastors gathering that is hosted at my church, and wondering what would happen, if we talked about out prayer habits, and how many would show up if I pre-announced that topic! (Even writing this makes me a bit nervous, because if I ask them, they will surely ask me!)
So how to encourage this regular conversation with God? How do we dare open our lives to Him? How do we pour out on Him our anxieties, our concerns and how do we know He is listening? How do we know the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of all creation is waiting to talk to me?
The problem is, like a 6 year old, we struggle to believe in that we cannot touch, We want documentation, a proven methodical concept that works the same way each time. In a way, we want to reduce prayer from the dynamic communication it is, to a formulary set of practices that will work the same way, each time. And when it doesn’t, we can analyze what we did wrong, or dismiss the entire thing as a intellectual fraud.
Relationships are a matter of the heart though, not of our mind. They are surprising and fluid, they are intense, and yet if abandoned dry out. They are life, which is why its called a life of prayer. It is experiental – beyond our ability to logically or within our scope of reason. So why would a relationship with God be any more rational, definable, subject to our control? Knowing His presence is observable, but not with our eyes. It’s know through a trust in Him that is alien to our minds, but with which the heart overrides that analysis, and does so in great joy… for it is there we find peace.
All I can say is faith relies on Him. It trusts Him. He promised to be here,
and He promised to listen and to craft our lives and all that happens to work out for our best. He invited us to pray, taught us how to lay it all out before Him, to let Him care for our burdens and bring life to our weary and broken lives.
I pray that we can be aware of the promises and the reality of them.
- Monday and The Priorities of Work (justifiedandsinner.com)