Edgewise Words

30 01 2014

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who didn’t let you say much? It can be frustrating. When you depart, you feel more like an audience than a contributor.

Prayer, sadly, can be like this. We “spend time with God” – but didn’t let Him get a word in edgewise!

Walter Wangerin Jr. said:

“Without our truly listening, prayer will seem to have failed because communication, remaining incomplete, did in fact fail. The circle stayed broken, and love was left unknown.”

Today I want to return to the series on Intimacy with God. The next section, as you can tell, is on Prayer: Making Room For God.

Real prayer has nothing to do with presenting a “grocery list” of requests and demands for God. It is about spending time with Someone we love.

Since childhood, I’ve been taught the importance of a “quiet time.” It was generally taught that this is a necessary evil.

Now, they didn’t use those words, but that’s the message conveyed…like I had to go visit Aunt Betsie. After all, she’s family, and that’s what family does.

I’m sure Aunt Betsie felt very honored by our obligatory visit – stilted and strained as we tried to keep the conversation going.

No doubt she was as relieved as we when we finally went home.

If our “quiet times” with God are like this, we are missing a wonderful opportunity to know the Lord.

There are four movements of prayer. They are:

1. We speak.

2. God listens.

3. God speaks.

4. We listen.

Let’s begin with the first one:

We have been given a great privilege:

The God of the universe invites us to talk to Him.

If an earthly king, rock star, or actor/actress gave us an audience, we’d Tweet, Facebook, blog, and otherwise get the word out in every way we could. Everyone would see “#chatted with _______” – and we’d use their first name just so folks knew how “important” we were!

The One who has invited you to “come boldly” into His presence…yeah, He created those celebs! They’re here today and gone tomorrow, while He’s existed forever – and will continue to be here long after their stars have burned out.

There will be no meeting with a “protocol adviser” before you can see Him. There are no requirements as to proper attire, what can and can’t be discussed, the proper way to address Him, or a limit to the time you have with Him.

You’re welcome to talk to Him anytime, any place, and in whatever state you’re in.

The second point is as amazing as the first:

God listens! 

He’s not big on repetitious prayers…would you want to listen to someone recite the same poem every time you saw them? (Especially if that’s all they ever said!)

When our grandkids come to visit, we stop what we’re doing and turn our attention to them. The youngest is two years old, and unable to speak words we fully understand. Does this matter? No. We listen intently and try to make out what she is saying.

There are times when her grandpa says, “Gerbil, I know you’re trying hard to tell me something. I’m sorry, but I can’t understand.” She shrugs her shoulders and cuddles for a bit before she runs off to play. (We call her Gerbil ’cause she sounds like one when she talks!)

God – the One who runs the universe, and far more than we can begin to fathom… He listens. Isn’t that astounding?

His attention is neither obligatory nor impatient. He listens because He cares deeply about each one of us.

However, most of us stop there and figure we’re good to go. Like Gerbil, we chatter away and then run off to our busy days.

We miss out on the best part:

God speaks.

He has things to say to you!

Guess what? He’s not aching to chew you out. He wants to tell you things about Himself – an integral part of building a relationship!

He wants to tell you about yourself as well – words that will strengthen, edify, encourage, and yes, sometimes rebuke (which does not resemble being yelled at by a parent, I assure you!).

Finally:

We listen.

Our part in the conversation is to listen to Him. It’s a choice – just as it is with any visible human.

This takes an act of our will, and a bit of practice.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice.” (John 10:27)

Notice that it doesn’t say “some” of my sheep.

If we’re sheep, we’ve been given the ability to hear what He has to say.

A new addition to the flock will need to hear the Shepherd’s voice several times before it is recognized as such, but over time the lamb will hear and respond.

(Tomorrow we’ll explore various ways in which God talks to us)

When we understand that there is nothing “religious” about prayer – that it’s simply conversation, and an opportunity to know someone better, our mindset toward this discipline will change:

Prayer will cease being drudgery and become the place where the fire of love burns bright!

This will be our experience when we learn to…

Let God get a word in edgewise!

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16 responses

31 01 2014
teri4sure

Oh how I needed this. Your first paragraph caught my attention because I experienced that with a good friend – me being the audience. I never thought about that happening with the one I love more than anything!!!! Thank you.

2 02 2014
lessonsbyheart

🙂

Glad to help. I’ve come to the place where whenever what someone is doing (that annoys me), I automatically ask, “Okay, Lord. How do I do this to You?” It’s the rare occasion when He has nothing to show me. {sigh} 😉

May the Lord’s face shine brightly upon you this week!

\o/

30 01 2014
Heidi Viars

great post. Tami! What a God who is closer than our own heartbeat and nearer than our breath!

30 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

Amen!

\o/

30 01 2014
Mary Adrienne

Thanks for this post. Learning this lesson is different than practicing this lesson. I love hearing about your experience with God….practicing His presence with us.

Thank you, Mary

30 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

There is definitely a difference, isn’t there? I’m always surprised to realize that God – with a capital G – *wants* to talk with me.

Thanks for taking time to comment. 🙂

\o/
Praising Jesus – who calls me “friend!”

30 01 2014
nopew

“If we’re sheep, we’ve been given the ability to hear what He has to say.” I have taught for a very long time that it is not that we can’t hear God, it’s that we “won’t” when God says what we don’t want to hear.
Funny that we have to use words to teach about prayer that has so little to do with words and everything to do with a relationship!
Peace

30 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

Isn’t that the truth (on both counts). However, I meet many Christians who’ve never been told that God speaks to them. (I was among them for a couple of decades)

I didn’t understand that when the Word leaped off the pages of my Bible and “resonated” – that was the Holy Spirit speaking to me.

🙂

\o/

30 01 2014
Pure Glory

Listening toGod honors him. So often we are so full of ourselves that we do everything on our own terms and forget who is most important. Daddy God and his great love for us.

30 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

I agree.

You should have seen the sky here today – fantastic. The billowy cumulus clouds melted into a ceiling of flat gray clouds. I’ve never seen anything like it! Beauty like that always makes me shout out praise to our creative Father! 🙂

\o/

30 01 2014
Susan Irene Fox

This is such a great reminder. God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason! Bless you.

30 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

Yeah – I always forget that He might have something to say as well. Who else would I treat like that? (Who else would put up with me if I did?? 😉 )

\o/

30 01 2014
Susan Irene Fox

😀 You’re so right!

30 01 2014
Emerson Mertens

Great post! I agree, it is completely amazing that God who made everything and who is Lord of all listens to us. And not only that, but He really *wants* to! He wants to have a relationship with us because He loves us. It is truly incredible! 🙂

30 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

Leaves me speechless all the time!

\o/

30 01 2014
Richard M Nixon (Deceased)

Reblogged this on Dead Citizen's Rights Society.

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