For most of my life I believed that the definition of prayer was simply talking to God. So, whenever I prayed, I talked. And talked and talked and talked. I told God all the things I wanted. Yes, I also offered Him praise for being God; I thanked Him for all the blessings in my life; I asked forgiveness for doing and saying things I shouldn't have done or said. But, most of all, I told Him all the things I wanted.
And I did all the talking.
I found that my prayer time was becoming more and more shallow. God seemed more and more distant. And with more and more frequency I was coming away empty.
Then one day, as I once again found myself talking incessantly as I went through the motions of prayer, it dawned on me. Prayer is, by definition, communication with God. Not to God. With God. That suggests that both parties be involved in both speaking and listening. Hmmm.
I've done enough premarital counseling to know that two people can't have much of a relationship if one person is doing all the talking and the other is doing all the listening. That kind of relationship certainly wouldn't be based on love. And without love, there could be no intimacy. And what has been the Creator's greatest desire since the beginning of time? To have a loving, intimate, relationship with His children.
For me, that loving, intimate relationship began the first day my prayers became two-way communication with God. It is when my prayers began to include my listening as well as talking that God's active presence in my life became real. That is when I discovered that His Word, His truth, His promises were meant for me.
If you have found your prayer life has become routine; if you've been pouring your heart out to God only to find that nothing ever changes; if your alone time with God leaves you feeling more alone, perhaps it's time to give Him the floor.
Instead of giving Him a list of all the things you want, let Him share with you what He wants. Rather than telling Him your plans for your life, let Him share with you His plan. Instead of offering Him words of praise, let Him offer words of praise to you.
When you give God a voice you will find that it is intoned with biblical truths. Listen intently to His words and imagine them coming from His mouth. Allow His Word--Scripture that you may have kept locked between your ears--to sink into the depths of your heart.
He has so much to share with you...
Oh, my child. How good it is to spend time with you. I treasure these moments. That's because I treasure you. I paid a very high price for you, you know!
I am honored when you bring your requests to Me. You need never be concerned that your desires aren't important; if something matters to you, it matters to Me.
I want you to lay your burdens before Me. But often before you leave, you pick them all up again and take them with you. I want you to know that you can leave them with Me. You can trust Me with whatever burdens and heartaches you have. I want to carry them so you don't have to. It is when you let them go that I will give you what I long for you to experience in times of trouble--rest for your soul.
I know that sometimes you don't feel worthy to be in My presence because of things you've done or said. You're ashamed because you've sinned against Me. You have not always been faithful to Me. But I want you to know this: I will always be faithful to you. I will not only forgive you, but, if you ask, I will help you to forgive yourself. It is not my plan that you go through life cowering under a cloud of shame and regret. My desire is to prosper you, to give you hope and a future. I long for you to walk with confidence and assurance, knowing that you are fully forgiven and fully loved. Remember, nothing can ever separate you from My love.
Remember, my child, that my lap is always open. I look forward to spending time with you. That’s because I love you. And not because of anything you’ve done. But because of who you are. You. Are. Mine.
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