What does this mean? Do we have to talk to God every second and no one else? How is this even possible? What does it look like to never stop praying?
When my son was young, we never had long conversations – but they were continuous. He would be outside playing and just pop his head in to tell me what he was doing. Every time he learned a new trick, figured out how to fix something he’d been working on, or saw something cool, he’d come and tell me. I never had to wonder what he was doing because he let me know before I had time to wonder. He’d think of something that happened at school and come in there and tell me about it. Then he’d go back to his room, only to come back in a few minutes to tell me something else he thought of.
As I said, these were not usually long conversations but they were continuous. As long as he was home, the conversation never ended. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “watch this,” or “look, what I did.” He’d just enter the room saying, “Oh, yeah, today at school,” or “You know, Mom, I’ve been thinking.” Then he’d launch into some story or idea, or maybe an understanding he had come to. He told me about his teachers, his friends, his accomplishments, his frustrations, his ideas, and his opinions. Basically he just said whatever popped in his head. Then he’d go about his business until he thought of something else.
I think talking to God is like that. To pray without ceasing doesn’t mean that we never stop talking or that we talk to Him and no one else. It means that the lines of communication are always open. Even though we can’t see Him, He is always with us. He’s always available.
No longer do I call you servants. For a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends. For all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
So, when something pops into your head, tell Him about it. Talk to Him about your day. Tell Him about your friends and family, your coworkers and your job. Involve Him in your relationships and the interactions you have throughout the day. When you see or hear something cool, tell Him about it. Talk about your dreams and your disappointments. As a loving Father, He wants to hear about all your accomplishments. But make sure to tell Him about your failures and frustrations, too. He wants to comfort and encourage you. If you are worried about something, talk to Him about it. When you’re happy or excited, share it with Him.
Doesn’t God already know everything that happened to us today? Surely, He is tuned in to our feelings. He probably understands them better than we do. Doesn’t He know what I’m thinking before I even say it?
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You understand my thought afar off. God, You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
If God knows everything anyway, then why do we need to tell Him? Well, because it’s not for Him. It’s for us. This is what it means to have a personal relationship with Him. You can’t have a good relationship with someone you don’t talk to. Conversation makes us closer to Him.
Because my son told me what he was doing, I knew what he was interested in. I knew His accomplishments and His struggles, and this gave me an understanding of what types of things I should encourage and when I needed to help him. When he told me stories, I saw how he responded to certain things and it helped me see what he thought was right and wrong. This helped me know what needed to be corrected and what should be fed and encouraged.
So, when we tell God what we are doing, along with what we are thinking and feeling, we give Him the opportunity to respond to us. Our Heavenly Father wants to encourage and comfort us. He wants to share our accomplishments and teach us how to respond better when we mess up. So, don’t let too much time lapse before you tell Him what you’re up to.
But, it isn’t just about talking. We are also supposed to listen. If we don’t talk to God, then how do we hear from Him? The Bible is His Word to us, so we can definitely hear from Him by reading the scriptures. But how do we hear from Him personally, if we don’t have personal conversations?
By talking to Him about our day, we give Him the opportunity to encourage certain behaviors while correcting and warning us against others. When we tell Him what we are struggling with, then He can help us. By telling Him what we think and feel, He can better direct and guide us.
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.
But also, God wants to answer our questions. He will tell us what to do in any given situation. He can help us understand the things that don’t make sense to us.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
The Lord want to tell us who He is, what He wants from us, and how to accomplish it. But, to know these things, we have to ask Him. When we don’t know what to do or say, we should ask. If we are confused, then we should tell Him so He can explain it to us.
This is a practice. It will take time and intention. But all you have to do is start. There’s no particular formula. Just think of Him as if He’s right beside you, and just start talking. Then practice listening.
He may respond right away or it may take time. You may barely get the words out of your mouth before you hear Him respond to your spirit. Or, you may pray and then hear something in a sermon or from a friend, you may read something in His Word, or you see something, and realize this is Him talking back to you. He may also respond to you through circumstances. When a door opens or closes in you life, ask God if this is His leading. Then, wait, watch, and be aware.
But remember, He’ll never tell you something contrary to what the Bible says, because it is His Word to us. He will also never tell you to act contrary to His character. We are made in His image. That means we have the same characteristics, traits, tendencies, and feelings that He does. He will never tell us to do something that He would not do Himself in that situation. So, the old phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” still applies. When you think God is telling you something, ask yourself that question. If it is not something He would say or do, then it is not Him.
Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children.
With all this in mind, start a conversation, and then never let it end.