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Communicating with God

Communicating with God

 

Our call as Christians is not to be church members, but to become intimate followers of Jesus Christ.  Intimacy in any relationship is developed through communication—listening to and sharing thoughts.  So it is with God. If we are followers of Christ, we want to learn to communicate with the One we love. Communication with God is called prayer. If you are not talking to and listening to God through prayer, you are not following Jesus because you don’t know where He is going.

 

We all have busy lives. The busier we are, the more prayer is needed. No matter what else is neglected, don’t neglect prayer.  Otherwise, you will be a dangerous influence to the people round about you. “Christians”, who don’t pray, become hypocritical, fleshly, give bad advice, and are a poor example of Christ who prayed continually to the Father.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

There are several ways to pray or communicate with God:

Praise and adoration—may also be sung to Him

Thanksgiving—in all circumstances throughout the day

Petitions and requests—most familiar

Intercession for others—it is also includes warfare against the enemy

Meditation—listening and resting in His Presence, reading His Word.

 

As we grow in prayer, we discover that prayer is more than simply asking God for things.  It is a way of drawing close to Him. The purpose of prayer is to impress us with God more than it is to impress God with us or our needs. Prayer is not an attempt to force the hand of God, but an act of submission to Him (i.e. Gethsemane). Submission gives us the understanding that God’s answers are wiser than our prayers. The greatest answer to prayer is that we are brought into a perfect understanding with God and our views are altered to agree with Him. If we never gain anything from prayer but the opportunity to commune with God and to know Him, that should be sufficient for us.

Matthew 6:7 And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

There is no magic in a prayer or in the method of prayer. Our communication with God should be genuine and continuous. When we live in a God-conscious state, filled with the Holy Spirit, we begin to recognize the presence of God around us, which opens up the channel of communication with our Lord anytime, anywhere. That is how it is possible to pray continuously.

Prayer is not an exercise, it is our life. If we think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts, we think rightly. Our blood flows and breathing continues ceaselessly; we are not conscious of either, but they are always going on. Likewise, we are not always conscious of being in God’s presence, but if we are obeying Him, we are always in fellowship with Him and able to communicate.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

So, if prayer is supposed to be so natural, then why does prayer seem so difficult? There are several reasons:

 

1. Prayer is conversation with an unseen person. It’s natural and easy for most of us to talk to a person we can see. It’s not even hard to talk to a person we can’t see so long as we can hear an audible voice, as in a telephone conversation. But we can’t see God’s face. Instead of an audible voice, God speaks in a still small voice to our spirit. Sometimes, He is silent. It’s hard to know at times if our words are really getting through. That is why prayer requires faith.

Heb. 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.

2. Our worldliness is an obstacle to prayer. In our world, where science and technology dominate, we are encouraged to make our plans, go about our daily activities, and pursue our recreational interests with no thought of God. He doesn’t seem to be necessary, except in a crisis situation when human efforts and human solutions fail us. In such a worldly soul, prayer gets used mostly as an emergency measure. It’s there when we need it, like a 911 call; otherwise, God and prayer is not something we think about when everything is going well.

Jude 1:17-21 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”  It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

3. Prayer is difficult because our concept of prayer and of God is flawed and incomplete. Trying to understand how prayer works gives rise to more questions than answers. How, for instance, can God hear a couple of billion prayers at the same time and respond to them all? How does God deal with prayers of two opposing armies, or two opposing teams, both asking for His help to win? If He is both almighty and loving, why do so many sincere prayers seem to go unanswered? Besides, why should a sovereign and all-wise God even listen to our prayers if He always knows what’s best? Questions of doubt like this in our mind, and whispered by the enemy, cause us not to pray.

Nevertheless, it is good to know how prayer works. God is present everywhere at all times; He is all-knowing and all-powerful. When we pray, we pray to the Father, through the Son, and by the Holy Spirit.

An effective prayer doesn’t depend on our words, because we have no power. The words of faith spoken by a child, a new believer, or an old prayer warrior can be equally effective. Prayer has power because the Father initiates prayer and tells us by the Holy Spirit what to pray in Jesus’ Name.

The Holy Spirit helps us to know what to pray for and how to pray. The Spirit helps us praise God for who He is. The Spirit helps us thank God for what He gives. The Spirit also convicts us of sin and gives us godly sorrow with prayers of confession and repentance. He helps us know our personal needs, both material and spiritual, and will give us words to ask in accordance with God’s will. The Spirit also shares with us the burdens of God for lost and hurting people, and helps us translate those burdens into prayers of intercession.

Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

 

As this Scripture indicates, we can also pray without words. As the Spirit moves in our hearts, there are emotions and thoughts that cannot be verbalized. We feel a spiritual burden and all we can do is express a groan or sigh. This also is truly prayer. Even in an unspoken prayer, there is real communication involving real persons—believers praying to the Father, through the Son, and by the Holy Spirit.

 

4. It is difficult to pray when we sin. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had intimate communication with God. They walked and talked with Him until their disobedience broke that intimate relationship, because sin separates us from God.

 

Isaiah 59:1-2 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

 

Furthermore, if we do not listen to God by reading and obeying His word, neither will God listen to our words when we pray.

 

Proverbs 28:9 If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

 

Therefore, if we are walking in sin and disobedience, the only prayer God will listen to is a prayer of confession and repentance.

2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

King David committed grievous sins during his reign. He learned the truth about confessing sin and repenting as a requirement for God hearing our prayers. He wrote:

Psalm 66:16-20 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!

 

God doesn’t want to be separated from us. That is why Jesus atoned for our sin on the cross and reconciled us to the Father. Prayer is the conversational part of the most important relationship in our lives, our love relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. To converse with God is to deepen that love relationship, while our life is refocused, sin is dealt with, joy is birthed, faith is strengthened, hope is kindled, peace is received, and power is released.

 

Spending our lives with God in prayer is the greatest possible expression of our love for Him. It literally says to God, “I love you.” Not praying to God sends another kind of message, like the one Lucifer held in his heart—I will be the lord of my life.

Isaiah 14:13-14 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’

God’s gift of prayer is also for our enrichment. Jesus reminded His disciples that the Father will give good things to those who ask Him. Those, who ask and seek God with all their heart, find their lives enriched by God’s gifts, especially the Holy Spirit.

Luke 11:9-13 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

When we pray, God uses us. Although God is almighty, all-wise, and fully able to work without us, He chooses to work through our prayers. God calls us into an intimate working partnership with Him. Without Him we can’t, and without us He won’t.

What we need most for solving the problems in our world is not more money, education, ideas, books, strategies, or politicians. Our prime need is more children of God praying and obeying.

In summary, our prayer life can be strong, faithful, continuous, fervent, and effective if we listen to the Holy Spirit and respond to His promptings in our spirit. By God’s grace and guidance through the Holy Spirit, we will be the kind of Christians God wants us to be—people like Jesus, devoted to prayer.

 

Last but not least, maybe you don’t pray because you don’t know God—you have no relationship with Him—you’ve never met Him.  The Good News is that can be remedied today.

 

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who atoned for your sin upon the Cross, was buried and rose from the grave on the third day. Then He ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father to intercede for you.

 

If you believe that, then put your belief into action by praying your first prayer. Simply confess your sin to your Father in Heaven and ask for forgiveness based on what Jesus has done for you. Then make a public profession of your faith in Jesus, which is similar to what people do at a wedding.  Give your life to Jesus by taking your first step of obedience to make Him your Savior and Lord through death to self in water baptism. In this act of faith, you will be forgiven and born again of the Holy Spirit, who will lead you in communicating with your Father in Heaven and in developing an intimate relationship with Him.