The journey of a two-way conversation
Our communication – God and mine – sometimes runs parallel, never meeting an intersection.
Three years ago I wrote a little study book for ladies in our church. The title, though wordy, is still one I like: “The Joy of Authentic Dialogue: Answering When God Speaks.” It’s about entering a journey that combines Bible reading and prayer in a two-way conversation, much different than what I’d practiced during most of my faith journey.
For years I opened my Bible and read. Then closed my Bible and prayed. Both were one-way roads. They rarely intersected. Perhaps you are familiar with that kind of prayer. He’d talk about mercy, and I’d talk about my need for a new car.
I’m excited to share with you how you can meet God in a way that merges speaking and listening, on the same topic.
I call it a “dialogue with God,” and the result is life changing. How could it be less when the Creator and the created meet face-to-face?
Richard Foster describes his experience with prayer this way: “It is an interactive conversation with God about what we and God are thinking and doing together.“
I longed for intimacy with the Lord – for both my Bible reading and my prayer to be personal – to be something I did because I longed for relationship – not out of the guilt that can come when we think of “having devotions.” I was desperate for more out of my walk. And I was willing to change.
“I’ve found the best way to get to where I’m going
is to walk away from where I’ve been.” - Winnie the Pooh
So, if you, too, are looking for more out of your relationship with God, I invite you to consider a different way to talk with Him.
In a couple of recent blog posts, I described how to GET still, and then what to do after you ARE still.
Now for the Next Step . . . engaging in a life-changing dialogue with God.
The key is inviting God to speak first . . . then staying on topic with Him.
I love spending time talking to people – long and lingering times, the heart-to-heart kind. The kind when you depart, you know you’ll never be quite the same. What an amazing gift – we can have that with Jesus!
Others know this reality much better than I. AW Tozer explains it this way:
“God is a Person, and in the deep of His mighty nature, He thinks, wills, enjoys, feels, loves, desires and suffers as any other person may. He stays by the familiar pattern of personality. He communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions.“
Occasionally through the years I’ve been part of Bible study groups that come together for one purpose: to study the facts - - the geography, the history, the exhaustive word studies, comparing translations…. I’m learning to come with a different question. “So what?”
Eugene Peterson describes it this way:
“The most important question is not “What does it say?” but “What does it mean, and how can I live it?”
If we stop before asking God to make the truth personal to our life, we might as well be reading… well … fill in the blank with your favorite topics.
So, how is it done? How can we have an actual dialogue with God?
One simple, powerful method: ask God a question – sometimes many – when a particular verse catches your attention. For example:
GOD: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
- Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
YOU: Lord, how am I attempting to save myself? What boasting have I engaged in to try to impress others – and You? This “gift” of Yours… am I willing to accept it with open hands, no strings attached? Am I depending more on the actions I do than on faith in who You are?
I ask slowly; I listen patiently. The Lord faithfully brings circumstances and thoughts to mind. He is, I realize, eager for me to understand His amazing grace and that it is, in deed, a gift.
PULL UP A CHAIR
Give it a try. Perhaps start with a very familiar verse and spend some moments in stillness – asking and listening. Enjoy the dialogue!