How to Talk to God
Our culture is not great at communication. With all of our technology and improvements, we’ve lost the essence of healthy communication. We’ve stopped listening, and for the most part we’ve stopped caring. Our communication is fast, easy, and one sided. You no longer have to engage with someone to communicate - there are about 15 different ways I can communicate with my BFF without actually engaging them. And if you don’t think that attitude has leaked into our prayer lives, well I’d love to hear a meaningful engaging comment below :) I want to challenge you to shift the way you engage in prayer, and maybe that will leak into your other relationships… Maybe we could all put our phones down and be unreachable for a bit. Would that be so bad? Maybe we could truly listen to each other and engage with the world around us. We could go an entire meal without checking a screen, and the world would not end. Ok I’ll put my soapbox away now and get back to the topic at hand!
The main purpose of prayer (in my humble opinion) is to build intimacy in your relationship with God. There’s another kind of prayer that’s purpose is intercession & spiritual warfare, but that topic is for another day. For today’s purposes lets focus on the relationship prayers. There are a few things we can do here that might not come naturally in this culture, but they will each and every one bring you closer to God, no matter how far you feel.
Naked Honesty There is no one safer than God. He’s all knowing. He’s all powerful. His love never fails. He can handle every emotion you have, even the ones you know are misguided. You don’t need to fear judgement if you are aware of the perfect love expressed in Jesus. He can handle every sin you’ve got, no matter how big or small. God is not dependant on you. Often in relationships we protect the other person and give them half truths, white lies and big coverups. Tell Him what you really feel, think and do. Don’t bother telling Him what you think He wants to hear.
Listen Painfully I say painfully because I’ve done it, and it’s not easy. Listen shares all the same letters as silent, and there’s just no getting past it. Like any relationship, listening with no agenda is crucial. I’m not talking about asking God if you should do A or B and then listening (that’s good too), I’m talking about sitting with no agenda and actively listening for what He wants to say. Inquire after the heart of God. There’s a great quote from Stephen Covey that says “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply.”
Be Surprisable I may have just made up a word… surprisable (adjective): the state of having open expectations, to be capable of being surprised. It’s not easy to surprise someone who has exactly 3 minutes to get to the next thing and will read exactly 8 verses in that time, pausing to highlite a minimum of two words. It’s also not easy to surprise someone when you never know if they will show up. To be surprisable with God you want to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, be available, and be intentional.The only expectation you should have is expecting that God will show up. The how, when and who with is all up to Him!
State the Obvious It feels ridiculous at times, but it’s surprisingly helpful. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a few minutes now and just remind God how much He loves you. I know! Just try it, I dare you. Beloved, God doesn’t need reminding of His promises to you, but YOU do. He has not for one second forgotten the length and breadth of His love for you, but YOU have. Tell Him what He already knows. Remind Him of the words He spoke over you last week, last year, last night. It will change you.
And here’s where our first type of prayer crosses into the second, because when you are telling God these great things, you are prophesying, my friend. You are making the enemy tremble because the Word of God is a powerful thing.