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  • Writer's pictureLara

God’s On The Line, Pick Up!

I realise only those of a certain age would understand the idea of a telephone line! We had a ‘party line’ when I was young and sometimes, if you picked up the telephone (in the days they had a receiver, a dial and were kept in the hallway), you could hear the conversation of someone down the road who shared your telephone line and you’d have to wait until they finished talking before you could make your call!

Thankfully, our line to God is never busy and He’s always ready to answer our call! We describe this type of conversation as ‘Prayer’.

I did a blog about prayer back last year, but the importance of prayer cannot be stressed often enough. Jesus is documented as praying on 26 different occasions in the Gospels (e.g. Luke 6: 12-13; Mark 14: 35; Matthew 27: 46; John 17: 1-26) as well as taking time away from His disciples and the crowds to be alone with His Father (Luke 5: 16).

He taught His disciples HOW to pray (e.g. Matthew 6: 6; Luke 11: 1-13), how NOT to pray (e.g. Matthew 6: 5&7; Mark 12: 38-40) and WHY they should pray (e.g. Matthew 18: 18-20; Mark 11: 23-26; Luke 10: 2) but even the disciples demonstrate how difficult it is to put all this teaching into practice after they fall asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane just before Jesus’ arrest (Matthew 26: 40-46). Jesus tells them His ‘soul is overwhelmed to the point of death’ but even this heartbreaking revelation cannot keep their minds focussed.

I don’t know about you, but I have fallen asleep in the middle of praying too many times to mention. Even more difficult to admit, I have fallen asleep without even giving prayer a second thought. Like the disciples, I know the hows and how nots as well as the whys but I don’t always put prayer into practice.

Even so, there are times when all I want to do is pray, yet there are other times when praying feels like wading through treacle; the words just do not come. Weeks go by when all I can offer up are set phrases like, ‘I love you Lord’ or ‘God is Good’ and while they do not sound much like prayers, I believe God receives them as such, knowing they are heartfelt and true.

Sometimes, when I can’t even muster up those few words, I take time out to just seek God’s presence and it’s like my very core opens up and ‘speaks’ to Him in feelings. Paul seems to describe this experience in Romans 8: 26 when he says, ‘We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans’. The Holy Spirit comes to live within us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and it is this very Spirit that connects with God and speaks on our behalf when we are unable. How amazing is that? We are connected to God through the Holy Spirit, because of Jesus’ sacrifice. We have direct access, no party line!

It is through this access that we can build our relationship with God. Imagine trying to connect with someone without ever speaking to them and without listening to what they have to say to you either. Connecting with God is no different. It takes time, effort and dialogue.

When prayer is easy, I gabble on to Him all through the day about this and that, just as if I was talking to a friend (in my head, not out loud!), and I listen for Him in words of scripture, a sermon or the wisdom I hear from those around me. When prayer is difficult, I still try to keep the line open, knowing the static will clear with always has done, so it always will.

I really believe our relationship with God hinges on prayer. As Christians, we are followers of Christ; if prayer was important to Jesus, it should be important to us. Prayers don’t have to be perfect works of literary brilliance; you do not need to speak with ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ or use big words. Express yourself from the heart, whatever that may look like, and even if all you can say is ‘Lord, help me!’ (A prayer of petition), ‘Sorry Lord’ (A prayer of confession), ‘Jesus is Lord!’ (A prayer of adoration) or ‘Thank you, Jesus!’ (A prayer of thanksgiving) you’re connecting with the Creator of the universe.

Whether your prayer is a constant stream of chatter, a few words thrown up in haste or the Spirit’s cry from your innermost being...take time to pray today. God’s line is always open!

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