Posted by: glorifyhim1 | January 24, 2011

Talking With God

Sometimes in preschool Sunday School something will happen that completely captures my heart. Such was the case this past Sunday and it occurred during prayer time. The previous week, I had smiled to myself as one little boy (whose dog had just died) prayed: “Dear God, I hope you have fun with my dog!” I thought it was a sweet little prayer, but another little boy was also listening. This little fellow rarely prays during our group time prayer, but this past Sunday he raised his hand and asked me to pray for his grandpa – that he’ll have a good time. I misunderstood his request and thought he had asked me to pray that “we’ll have a good time.” I knew one of this little guy’s grandpas, so thinking that he was probably going to spend some time with him, I prayed that this little guy and his grandpa would have a good time together. After group time he leaned over to me and whispered, “My grandpa is in heaven.” And then I understood his prayer request. He had heard his friend pray the previous week for his dog that had died so in like manner he wanted to pray for his other grandpa who had died several months ago. He wanted to pray that his grandpa would have a good time in heaven.

I was so touched by this child’s concern and thoughts for his grandpa, and even more thankful that as preschooler, this little guy was beginning to learn that we can talk to God about anything. Psalm 34:17-18 assures us that God hears our prayers. “The righteous cries out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” There is not a thing that we cannot bring to God in prayer. Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

.

Spending time in prayer is important to me, but I also struggle with it. Why? Because it is not always easy to find that perfect time, perfect place, when things are still and quiet, and when I can spend undisturbed time alone with God. But it comforts me to know that Jesus struggled with it, too. In Matthew 14, Jesus had just heard the news that John the Baptist had been beheaded by King Herod. John the Baptist was the one who had went before Jesus and prepared His way. Upon Jesus’ insistence, John the Baptist had baptized Jesus. Undoubtedly, Jesus was distraught over this news and the Scriptures tell us that He left in a boat to go to a remote area to be alone. However, the crowds heard where He was going and they followed Him. By the time Jesus stepped out of the boat, He saw a huge crowd gathering. As Jesus looked out over that crowd, I can almost hear him give a sigh. He desperately needed time alone with His Father, but the people needed Him. So what did He do? The Scriptures tell us that He had compassion on the people and that He healed their sick.

But He didn’t stop there. When it began to get late, instead of sending the people home, He told His disciples to feed them. It wasn’t until after He fed 5,000 men plus women and children that He urged the disciples to get into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, and that He sent the people home. Jesus showed compassion and did more than the situation even demanded.

I wonder if I would have been as gracious as Jesus. When I am tired or burdened, am I willing to go the extra mile that an unexpected interruption sometimes demands? Or do I selfishly guard my prayer time and push interruptions away?  At such times I need to remember that although I may crave time alone with God, He is always with me even during the busyness of my day. I can pray about any situation, for any person, at any time of the day or night. For years I would get up at 5:30 and be out the door at 6:30 on my way to work. I didn’t have time for a real quiet time until the evening hours after dinner. But I spent most of my 30-minute commute to and from work talking to my Father. I’ve prayed for my kids; about issues at work, home, and church; health problems, finances; on and on. And you know what? God was always there with me! He knows our hearts. He hears us when we silently pray for His help. He hears us when He brings someone to our minds, and we breathe a prayer for them right then. Every believer can have constant communion with God because of His Spirit that dwells within them.

But notice that after Jesus sent the disciples and people away, the Scriptures tells us that He still went up into the hills by himself to pray. The night fell while he was there alone. Jesus didn’t abandon His time with God. He continued to eagerly search for a time and place that He could be alone with the Father – not out of duty or obligation, but because of His desire to spend time with the Father.

Prayer is a Christian’s greatest privilege. It overwhelms me when I really stop and think about it. When I pray, I am actually talking to the Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth. There is nothing that this all-powerful God cannot do and just as my little friend has learned, there is nothing that I cannot talk to Him about. He is Sovereign over all. It amazes me that this great and awesome God desires to commune with me – that He doesn’t mind listening to my sometimes petty and wayward thoughts. Instead, He receives me as a child and through His Spirit helps me better discern His will and direction. Just as we sometimes smile over the innocent prayer of a child over his dog, I wonder if sometimes God feels the same way about our prayers. Yet our Father receives us as we are and helps us grow as we submit ourselves to Him.

“As the deer pants for the water brooks,

So pants my soul for You, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When shall I come and appear before God?

Why are you cast down, O my soul?

And why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him

For the help of His countenance.

The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,

And in the night His song shall be with me –

A prayer to the God of my life.”

(Psalm 42: 1-2,5,8)

 

 

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