original image source: ZamaanOnline
Today’s post comes in response to a post earlier in the year on Preach the Message You Were Given. Caroline Mauger has been a reader/commenter of the Prayer Coach blog and a follower of the @Prayer_Coach twitter account for a long time. I reached out to Caroline to see if she would be willing to add a post. You can read more from her at her blog, the Masked Rabbit.
I Like to Talk
I like to talk. I love to connect with people and share information, experiences, thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, I have so much I feel I want to get out that I have to almost clamp my hand over my mouth because I could just dominate a conversation – not an attractive quality for a friend, family member, spouse or employee.
We’ve all been there, the “thing” that we’ve turned up to and that one person who just can’t seem to even take a breath before launching into something else. We smile politely but eventually we feel the frustration that actually, yes, we have something to say too, if they’d just let us and they might find it interesting and relevant to what they’ve just been discussing. Funny, huh? I suspect I may have been that person on both sides of that particular coin.
God Also Wants to Talk
But similarly, it occurred to me today that I have the same tendency with God. Yes, it is important to speak to God and not just during our specific prayer time, be that first thing in the morning or whenever, but throughout the day.
“Pray continuously” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
I’ve gradually learnt that I can do this but now I find I am once again dominating the conversation. Jesus is so patient, so loving and kind but I know that He wants to speak to me too. He has so much that He wants to say, to instruct, to show love, to challenge and correct, to bring us to maturity in our faith.
Jesus can speak to us through the Bible. He can speak to us through nature, through some event that is happening in our lives, internationally or nationally. He can speak to us through a song or even as we are in the thick of some action or task we are performing.
Make Time to Listen
Will we hear Him though? Are we listening for His voice? Are we ready to hear what He has to say or are we too quick to hear then rush on with our own agenda? Do we give time for what God says to percolate within us?
The Christian mystics, such as Teresa of Avila, often spoke of being mindful of God, that constant awareness of Him, and that mindfulness should lead to listening for His voice and careful consideration of what is said.
This is not to say we feel we can’t speak to God. Of course we can and we can talk to Him about anything. But we need to remember that God isn’t a genie. He’s not some Santa Claus or leprechaun to grant wishes but the Almighty, the Creator of all who, rather amazingly, wants to communicate His love for us and to build relationship with us.
How do you build a relationship? You have a conversation. You have many so that you can get to know one another. If we are doing all the talking, how do we get to know God properly?
Let’s Practice Listening to God
Let’s practice slowing down our thoughts, needs and desire to be heard for a moment and dare to ask the question on a daily basis’ “What do you have to say on this God?” or “Father, what do you want to discuss today? What is on Your mind?”
I know I need to do more of this. It’s so easy to get lost in our own words, But life comes from every word that proceeds from the Father. Jesus told us this.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” – Matthew 4:4
Let’s be mindful of our Father and remember to listen to Him as well as speak to Him. Then, when He speaks, as He surely will, let’s remember to think carefully on what He has said. Don’t change the subject. Respond to His words. Everything He says is said with love and desire for us to draw ever closer to Him and I certainly don’t want to miss out on whatever it is that He has for me.