God is teaching me to talk. Like a parent patiently listening and answering a stumbling and fumbling 18 month old child who is just learning the ropes of human language, God sitts with me as I bumble my way through the process of learning to communicate. It’s a slow process, learning the ropes in this spiritual world of words, the ones I’ll be using for the next million years. I’m just a toddler in this matter of prayer. But God is patient, and actually completely delighted with the fits and starts of my first efforts. After all I’ve only been at this for 45 years or so.
Here’s an excerpt from my book, “Six Prayers God Always Answers” about this simplicity of prayer as a dialog with God
Prayer is a conversation with God.
Real prayer has the same elements as a real conversation–bold questions, bursts of emotion, and room for silence. Think of the times you have real honest-to-goodness conversations with those you love. They can happen at anytime, when your teenager comes home from school, over the dinner table, in bed with your spouse, or in the middle of the night when your toddler wakes up from a nightmare. Conversation isn’t rehearsed; it just bursts forth as a response to the situation.
Ellie bounces into the kitchen where her mom and dad are finishing their dinner. “Can I go to a friend’s house tonight and take the car?”
“Whose house?” asks her mother.
“What time will you be home?” asks her father.
“I’m just going to Sarah’s, I’ll be home by ten.”
“Is anyone else going with you?” asks Mom.
“No, just me, but Cindy’s meeting us there.”
“Is there gas in the car?” Dad asks.
“I’ll check,” she says and runs out the door. A few minutes later she’s back in the kitchen with a report that the gauge is almost on “E.”
Her dad hands her some cash, tells her he loves her, and asks her to be careful driving.
There is no formal presentation to this encounter. Neither party carefully planned their words. Ellie, in a hurry to get to her friend’s house asked the most direct question she could. Everything else that took place in the exchange was a result of that first question.
Ellie’s conversation wasn’t self-conscious or insecure.
Prayer shouldn’t be either. We don’t carefully calculate our words into some sort of exploitive formula, instead we’re entirely focused on the person we’re speaking to and our responses, as well as theirs.
Good prayer is like talking with our child. We’re more interested in hearing what they’ve said or how they’re reacting to what we’ve said than we are in carefully selecting our words.
Question: When have you had a “conversation” with God, and experienced prayer as an exchange? Talk about that…