Often, it’s easier to talk about prayer than it is to pray. The devil doesn’t mind nearly so much when we talk about prayer, as when we spend time with God in prayer. Prayer is talking with our heavenly Father, not just to our heavenly Father. We need to be willing and ready to receive from Him as He speaks to our hearts through His word.
We can learn some basic lessons about prayer if we simply remember principles of good communication. Suppose I come home and my wife greets me by looking at the floor saying: “Oh most wonderful husband, Lord of this house, excellent driver of our vehicle, I am so honored to be in your presence. I want you to know my deep affection for you. It is my desire to serve you. Please, tell me if there is something I can do for you. I am not worthy to be in your presence, oh great and wonderful man.”
Such language would be pretentious and distant. I want to be greeted by one who knows that I love her! I am so glad I don’t have an artificial relationship with my wife. My wife is much more inclined to call me Darling or Sweetheart. This loving, intimate and spontaneous relationship has been developed as we have spent time together. Our verbal communication reflects a genuine oneness that has deepened with time.
But, as much as Susan loves me, and as much as I love her, and as good as our relationship is, if I began to see her only sporadically in order to unload on her verbally, even if I included great compliments, our relationship would suffer:
“Susan, I just want you to know you’re so beautiful. Susan, I’m so glad to see you. You look marvelous. I thank God I’m married to you. It’s wonderful to see you again.”
“Darling, I need to go over a few things with you that I want you to take care of for me today: my dry cleaning needs to be picked up, you need to pay the Visa bill, be sure to arrange a dentist appointment for me, and I would really appreciate roast beef for supper tonight – but please no sweet potatoes and let’s have broccoli, not peas – I’ll give you a call later if I think of anything else. It’s great to see you and to know you’re always there for me.”
Even if I gave her a hug and kiss before going out the door, our relationship would suffer. Being too hurried and preoccupied to interact with my wife would be wrong on my part.
Speeches of love, desire and gratitude do not constitute an intimate relationship. Yet, this is the approach many of us take in our prayer lives. We talk to God, instead of talking with God. We pray, seeking God’s help to accomplish our desires, be we don’t have time to linger in His presence and allow His word to speak to our hearts. Instead of spending time learning to be still and know that He is our God, as He asks, we act as if we have other more important things to do. If we want an intimate relationship with God, we must intentionally take the necessary time to commune with God: speaking, listening and being still in His presence.
My wife and I enjoy a prolonged embrace with each other. And, we both need the prolonged embrace of our loving heavenly Father. Because of His grace, we are offered the privilege of intimacy with our awesome Creator who is King of all.