Wednesday, November 28, 2007

To Pray Rather Than Talk

If you are like me, you too often do the reverse.

I find this true especially when I'm stressed, uncertain, unhappy or in some other emotional state that involves unrest. At the same time, though, I also find myself more in the mood to talk with friends when I'm very happy than to pray in thankfulness to God. So when I'm at either end of the emotional spectrum, I'm more likely to incline towards communication with people than communication with the divine.

There is nothing wrong with talking to friends and family about our lives. We should do so. We should do so often, I think. But we ought to check our hearts at times on this matter. Sometimes, I'll be walking home from work, and I'll think about who I could call on the phone and talk to at that moment. Well, there may well be someone who needs an encouraging word or a friendly conversation at that moment. I am disturbed, however, by my hasty inclination to talk with friends or family rather than to pray to God. I want to have a heart that instinctively prays, not one that grudgingly prays. I want to redeem the time, not spend it for the sake of spending it. When I am faced with difficulty and trial, I want to go first to God and to lay out my concerns and needs before Him. When I am happy, I want to burst out in spontaneous thanksgiving to God rather than to call my friends. In short, I want God to have the priority in my communicative life.

There are times when we will need to go to others in an intensive way, but it is best for us all, whatever our stage or situation of life, to develop an instinctive prayer life that gives God communicative priority. We should lean on one another and celebrate together and mourn together and everything else in between. But we should first and foremost be people who pray to God, who see ten or fifteen or five or two minutes as an opportunity to, wherever we are, get away to God. When our hearts are troubled, we should not call everyone in our phone book and blather away. We should lean on our families, but not so that we crush them with our burdens. It is difficult to find this balance, and easy answers will evade us, but we have all our lives to handle this tension. May we find many moments in days to come to speak with God, to lean on Him first, and to pray rather than talk.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Dad said...

Good points Owen, and I've struggled with this as well. I know someone who spoke from Rom. 1:21 recently on the topic of Thanksgiving, particularly, thanking God as God (not as we might image or want him to be but as he has revealed himself). One might be greatly challenged to consider how often we thank God as God or maybe don't thank him.

Al (Not Owen's dad or that other "Al".)

4:24 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

YES!! And even in our "prayer services" at church we tend to take more time "sharing" than praying.

11:52 PM  

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