If you were to close your eyes and visualize a picture of what prayer looks like…what would you visualize? Most of the people that we have asked over the years generally come up with a picture of a kneeling person with hands folded and eyes closed. Every emoji, silhouette, Christmas card, car window sticker, etc., shows that very figure. It is stuck in our brains and we seem to continue to follow that visual, even though most of us do not use that pose to talk to God unless someone is watching or we are in church. This stereotype of prayer puts most of what we say into a formal request, needs list, petition for help or a very specialized pattern to follow to do this religious act correctly. To many, this is the proper respect and decorum that should be used when praying to the God of the universe.
Unfortunately, it also brings a huge gap between God and man when we treat Him as a giant sin evaluator and corrector of our bad deeds instead as a loving Father that created man to have conversations with while they walked in the cool of the evening. From the beginning (Genesis) to the end of the old testament (Malachi) we find God’s desire was to have a close relationship with His creation, but man kept choosing to go against His wishes and make the relationship difficult. He created us with choice and He put the one tree in the garden for man to choose to do what He asked; willingly. But we could not keep from consistently making bad choices.
Jesus came to restore man and God’s relationship so that God would be able to once again walk with and talk with His creation. Jesus’ selfless act was to give the relationship a renewed communication base that would change the act of prayer into a conversation rather than a formal report of performance issues. When sin was covered with Jesus’ blood it turned the act of betrayal by Adam into a close and intimate relationship of love, trust, faith, and power. Now…
How would you define conversation? What visual comes to mind when you think of having a talk with someone? There is just no way to put that into a picture unless you had at least two individuals facing each other with their mouths open. Conversation involves at least two parties expressing an opinion or point of view to one another. This is really what God was going for when He created man. Someone to teach, guide, uplift, inform and love while hearing what the other party has to say about these things. Both sides talking, both sides listening and then a measured response to that communication. THAT is prayer! THAT is what God has wanted from the beginning! THAT is what we should be shooting for when we go to Him with our needs, wants, desires, pains, disappointments, joys, delights and lonelinesses. Telling Him, then waiting to hear what He thinks about what we just downloaded to Him.
Here comes the choice thing again. Do you want to pray to God or do you want to have a conversation with Him. I’ve got the scriptures to back up the claim that the Trinity is listening and just waiting for the chance to be heard. Do I really need to go there? Do you doubt that your Father wants and desires to speak to you? He does, but my next question is: are you listening? Every relationship problem is a communication problem. Without communication there is no relationship. What kind of relationship are you desiring? Is it a formal religious act or an exchange of information and heartfelt opinions?
Go ahead. Have a fierce conversation with the One that loves you more than anything else in His creation. He will be delighted to hear from you as you share your heart and then… listen to His response. It is His heart’s desire.