The Gift of Conversation
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As a pastor, I’ve started to notice what topics come up over and over in my conversations. You know I’m all about passion and purpose, and I love taking note of what lights my fire in different seasons! Lately, I’ve felt drawn back to one of my earliest passions and potentially the biggest result-getter of my faith: prayer. If I could name one thing to propel your spiritual journey, building a practical life of prayer would be the top of my list.
Prayer is not something I invented. With a minister for a mom, I practically grew up with a formula! Maybe, like me, you were taught a very regimented view of what prayer was. Maybe you’ve heard the anthem of my childhood: “God is great, God is good, and we thank him for this food. By his hands we all are fed, give us Lord our daily bread. Amen.”
We can find so many scripted, planned-out prayers in our routines. Many of us still have that childhood thought that prayer is something we do before we go to sleep on our knees at the side of our bed. Or something we do after we ate the bread at a restaurant but before the entree…no, you’re not alone!
Nothing is wrong with learning this way. Learning these traditions can be a great introduction! But in 1 Corinthians 13:11, Paul says “when I was a child….” and child-like thinking is not limited to age. Some of us are still in the baby/child stage of our walk with Christ. You may be like my husband who did not grow up in church. When he accepted Christ into his heart at 21, he was a seven-foot-something, basketball playing baby Christian!
My prayer for you today is that today, no matter where you are in your faith, you desire a greater conversation with God than auto-pilot prayers.
This conversation with God leads me to a memory with my mother. When I was a little girl, my 4 older siblings would send me to ask my mother for treats they wanted-- mostly popsicles! I felt so special to have been chosen to be that direct line of communication. I’m pretty sure as a kid I spoke to my mom in small increments. Mom would ask how school was and I’d say, “good,” or receive a basic list when she inquired what I wanted for Christmas. But now as an adult, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t speak to my mother. Our conversations are never 1 liners; they are deep and direct. Both of us are deeply engaged, speaking and listening in turns. I count it as a special gift to have this time of communication with the person who gave birth to me, and as I grow older, I love that she cares and wants to have that communication with me.
Most people have no idea the power, comfort, and joy that is available to them through a loving prayer life!
Prayer is a gift. As we grow in our faith, we realize that God gives really, really good gifts out of his love for us. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that he GAVE his only begotten son….” God is a master gift-giver, and prayer is no exception. It is a present that means we have direct access to communicate with God Himself! Prayer is candid conversation from your mouth to God's ears, and he loves it. Remember, we are made in God’s image. I know that prayer and communication is a gift because I like having direct communication with people I love, just like my mom loves to hear from me.
In the same way, this gift to directly communicate with God the father in heaven is a precious piece of life not many know how to take advantage of. Even if we do, we are often stuck in the auto-pilot one-liners. Today, I invite you to think about prayer in its purest form: as open, verbal communion and companionship with God. Prayer is communication between earth and Heaven.
Have you ever considered prayer as companionship? What would it look like to carve out a little extra space in your day for “verbal communion?”
Depart from the script! Whatever your usual prayer life looks like, try this today:
Go to a chair (without wheels) and plant your feet firmly on the ground. Align your knees over your ankles, your hips over your seat, your ribs over your hips, your shoulders over your ribs. Lift the crown of your head so that your ears are over your shoulders, and lay your hands on your thighs, palms up. Relax your jaw. Now, close your eyes and pause. Begin a conversation like you would with a close friend… palms out, nothing hidden, nothing too big or small to share. How did that feel?
March 13, 2019