Do you talk to God?
More importantly, you might ask, “Why should I talk to God?” or “How do I speak with God?”
The obvious answer to the first question is, “the Bible says to do so.” And obviously, this is an easy answer, with no “real” explanation of reason and purpose.
I personally think that a purpose of prayer is acknowledgement. And, God likes that, and unabashedly so. In his example given to us in The Lord’s Prayer, Christ taught us that we are not to pray to an entity such as “God,” but to a person, such as “Father.” And as such God has feelings of vested interests in our well-being. Additionally, as a Father or parent figure, in prayer we acknowledge this person as our life source, and we welcome this person to a partnership with us in reaching our aspirations. Also, this person both likes and appreciates this acknowledgement and invitation of presence, to be with us and to assist us in ways that are currently unknown to us. Yet, as we look back in time, we see where our divine parent has guided, assisted, and comforted us.
The Bible is full of examples, most notably in the Old Testament, where people conversed with God, as if God were sitting in front of them. Examples which come to mind are those of Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and King David. Many times these texts portray God’s answers to these people, but there are also times where it seems as if the “conversations” were instead one-way streets.
Also, our Lord, Jesus, asked his disciples to pray! He felt this to be so important that he offered them a format when they asked him to teach them how to pray.
You see, even the disciples of Christ posed the earlier question, “How do I speak with God?” And that was okay and even welcomed by our Lord, and to this question, he responded with what is known today as The Lord’s Prayer.
He must have known his disciples. As seen in the Garden of Gethsemane, before his death, they were not disciplined in the practice of saying lengthy prayers. They kept falling asleep trying to do so.
However, John overheard the prayer of his Lord, the lengthy one that was prayed in the garden. He probably quickly wrote it down, as best as he could remember, following all that transpired- and it was certainly not quaint, pristine, or “perfect” in any way. It was a conversation. It was from Christ’s very soul. It was heartfelt.
All of you reading this may know the Lord’s Prayer by rote recitation. All of you may be able to flip to a page in The Book of Common Prayer and pray a prayer that is prescribed for many and various occasions and circumstances in life. This is good. This is needful. This was first exemplified by Christ’s prayer example for his followers. But have you considered…
Have you considered that the songs you sing, even pop culture songs, can be understood as prayers in many ways?
Have you considered that your private thoughts can be understood as prayers (as said in our churches at the opening of the service, “Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts…” The Book of Common Prayer, p. 355)?
I welcome you to embrace this knowledge and to welcome God into this holy conversation, so that, in times to come, you may fondly reflect on your partnership with the divine, as witnessed in your respective life journeys, remembering that this is a partnership which can only be attested to upon ones reflection of past experiences.
On this note, I offer all of us a pat on the back. The answer to the first question I posed, “Do you talk to God?” is a resounding, “Yes,” Yes, we all talk to God, and yes, God hears the thoughts of our hearts.
How do you talk to God?