Practice Prayer As a Conversation

Funny thing about Jesus. He came as a human. He related as a human. He encouraged his followers to trust in him as in a relationship. He did not proclaim himself son of god, lord of lords, prince of peace (all titles Augustus Caesar gave himself). He reflected God because he had seen God face to face just as Moses and the prophets had foreseen.

When we come into the the practice of prayer, we come into a conversation with a person. We are not merely pleading with a distant, foreboding entity–on on the graces of the political ruler trying to make himself God. We are just in a conversation.

Sometimes in a conversation among friends, one of the people does all the talking. The other listens. One would hope practicing “active listening,” that is, actually paying attention to the speaker. God, we trust, always listens. We can do the talking.

Then a point of the conversation occurs when you stop talking. Then you listen. Sometimes the other can merely offer empathy. Maybe that’s all you need–someone to listen. Other times the other may ask a question designed to make you take a deeper look into why you feel that way. Maybe you mistook a comment to mean one thing when it was meant as another and you became angry or disappointed. Again other times the other may offer guidance.

Jesus says many times that we are to trust in him just as in our very best friend. Sometimes he just listens. Sometimes he asks a question. Sometimes he gives advice and direction.

Practicing prayer means finding regular times in a day (Jesus went up on a mountain side to pray evidently every evening; Daniel went to his room three times a day) to have a conversation. With a friend.

Listening is part of having a conversation. Sometimes I listen first, talk later. Sometimes all I do is listen. Usually I will concentrate on people whom I know that have needs and bring them into the prayer silently.

The hard part of faith is that I trust that God is there even when there is no answer. It’s not a matter of answered prayer. It is a matter that I trust God to be there.

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