I was thinking about prayer today & how we understand it to be a conversation between us & God... I don't think we actually believe that however. It ends up going one way as opposed to both parties sharing in turn... The more time we spend, the more we talk, the closer we're getting to the Almighty, right? We want to talk, to be heard... God wants us to pray... We have needs & it's only logical to assume that more words equal more points with Him, right? Wrong.
I'm sure I'm not the first to admit that prayer can be a boring, even frustrating activity at times b/c it's just me & an empty room. Its just me & my Bible. Its just me in a church full of people... Its not like a "real" conversation with a flesh & blood person who I can experience with my senses. I often send my prayers up in faith & then walk away, neglecting the exchange of actual conversation. I'm impatient. Tired. I have things to do. God probably wasn't listening anyway & if He was, He's probably busy contriving some trial or complicated series of events in reply. You know how God is... I'm being facetious of course. God hears every word out of my mouth as well as the ones that never make it past my tongue. He can read my body language, He knows what I really think about a situation. What He's really looking for is time... Am I taking the time to listen, to get to know Him- to hear His response to my life?
Is listening merely confined to an act of silence? Is it something we can carry out beyond a single moment? Thankfully, God is not confined by our timelines, our spacial or even physical limitations. He doesn't grow weary like us. He doesn't faint from exhaustion when we ramble on, even though He already knows everything we need. But do we know all that He requires of us? Do we have any idea how much He loves us? We can't possibly know unless we listen... And we can't possibly pretend to know what He's thinking or doing if we're always droning on about ourselves. God speaks to us not only with words from the Bible, not only with language from the people around us, but also through nature, science, & everyday things from our everyday lives. I don't believe listening is confined to the last 5 minutes of our 15 minute devotions. It needn't be confined by anything at all, really. So if prayer is not only talking but listening as well, when do we take the time to listen?
Speak, Lord, & help me listen... Make my life an ongoing prayer.