Even the most committed believers and children of God go about their day focusing on what they need to accomplish as part of their daily lives. Few of us have the time to spend our entire day talking to God. And I'm sure he doesn't expect that from us mortals.
Daily devotions throughout the day. Morning and evening prayers. Prayer during worship. Petitions throughout the day as the need arises. Short prayers of praise and thanksgiving. These are all opportunities we set aside to step aside and talk to God.
These are all “one-off” opportunities to visit with the God who created you and sustains you, no matter what goes on in your busy day.
Let's talk about your “one-off “conversations with God. There are important questions you need to ask yourself regarding how you communicate with the Almighty.
Listening Is a Key Part of Talking to God.
The Lord our God speaks to us in many ways. He speaks to us through his Holy Word, in prayer, in worship, in dreams, through other people, and in our daily experiences. He often speaks to us through the Holy Spirit, the helper Jesus Christ assigned to be at our side as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. We can’t help to hear what he is saying, unless of course, we aren’t listening.
When you talk to God, do you take the time to listen? Listening is a key part of talking to God. Listening before, during, and after your conversation. It involves opening you heart, your mind, and ears with a readiness and expectancy.
Do you remain vigilant, ready to hear or see a response from God as you live your daily life? After all, God usually doesn't respond immediately. His timing is on an eternal timetable, without beginning or end. And he knows what he’s doing.
When God asks you to do something, and even challenges you, are you willing to act, or do ignore him and put it off? We all have a tendency to procrastinate, especially with it comes to things of the spirit, for our humanity binds us to what we can sense in the material world.
When God speaks to you, what in your life determines how you talk to him, listen to him, and respond to him? Make a list of the people, activities, and priorities that often cause you to put off an appointment to visit with God.
Restlessness Calls Us to God
God often communicates a sense of restlessness to us. When this occurs, how do you react to it? Describe the restlessness. Is it an anticipation? Is it an expectation? Is it an uneasiness or a foreboding? Do you lean into it or ignore it?
Consider a time when you thought God used others to deliver a message to guide you. How did you react? Were you open or closed in your reaction, complimentary or critical and unaccepting? Did you question why he was leading you or ask the Spirit for discernment?
Finally, describe times when you heard God speak to you in some way and you didn't listen. You went you own way, relying on your own devises. What was the result? What did this say about your relationship with God?
In God's Words
"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe." (Hebrews 1:1-2)
"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:12-13)
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)
Also read: Psalm 145:18-19, Luke 8:18, 2 Timothy 3:16
In the Words of Others
"Prayer begins by talking to God, but it ends by listening to him. In the face of absolute truth, silence is the soul's language." Fulton J. Sheen
"Every happening, great and small is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message." Malcom Muggeridge
"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse the deaf world." C.S. Lewis
"Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart." Mother Teresa
"The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays." Soren Kierkegaard
Things to Consider
Cite an example of when you had a strong urging to do something, and you knew it what God speaking to you.
Describe a time when you felt a gentle nudging of the Spirit. When you get a nudging, do you listen for the message?
When you experience a significant blessing, a failure or setback, or a sudden tragedy, how do you interpret it in relationship to God? How does it alter your perception and conversation with God?