Thursday, May 28, 2009

Am I Talking to God or Not?

"How do I know if I am really talking to God or not?"

EG asked me this today, after we finished her devotional time together. Funny, God woke me up to the answer to this very question in my own life over the past few years. At some point I thought, Am I just talking to myself here, or to God?

I don't remember the exact process of how He changed my thinking but I do know where I am now, and this is what shared with my eldest. God urged me to share it here, too.

First, I encouraged her to ask God to give her the faith to believe He is there and that He is listening to her. Psalm 62:8 says, Pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. In Daniel 10, you can (and should!) read about how Daniel pleaded with God for knowledge and the Lord sent an angel to answer his prayer and his question. Acts 12:5-17 is the story of how Peter was imprisoned and then miraculously set free, in response to the prayers of his believing friends. Oh, EG, God is listening! These are only a few examples from scripture, not to mention countless times in my own life when He has responded to my cries.

I wrote down some verses for EG to look up that remind us that we are commanded to pray. I Thessalonians 5:17 puts it quite succinctly: Pray continually. In Matthew 6:6, Jesus Himself promises to reward us as we pray privately to our Unseen Father.

Secondly, I reminded EG about the thrilling promise in Hebrews 4:16 that tells us we should approach the throne of grace with confidence, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. I have found that as I remember and imagine God seated on His throne, I am more able to focus on Him, and make sure that my words are to Him, and not merely aimless talking. I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. (Isaiah 6:1) This is another image I love to keep in mind as I pray.

Mary...sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what He said. (Luke 10:39) Since Jesus promised that He is with me always (Matthew 28:20), then I can also have the attitude of Mary, remembering that Jesus is right here with me, and think of myself as sitting at His dear feet. There I can pour out my heart and also listen to Him, as she did.

Lastly, I gave her Romans 8:26, in which Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

I pray this all helps EG in her growth in Christ, and that maybe it will be an encouragement and help to you, too. I will confess that I shared this a bit timidly, because it's a window into my own heart and thinking, and there was this little niggling fear (never from God, right?) that someone might find all this imagining about God and His throne and the feet of Jesus to be...not quite right. He urged me to step out past the fear of being real.

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