How to talk to God…?

Chapter 23-  When I Pray

(rough draft chapter from my next book)

Philippians 4:6

Amplified Bible (AMP)

6Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

Communication is such an essential aspect of any relationship!  When the lines of communication are healthy, most of the time, the relationship is healthy.  But when those likes break down, many times, the relationship suffers as well.  We were created to have relationship with God and with each other, in order for those relationships to continue to grow and mature, communication is essential.  And yet, when it comes to communicating with God, so many people feel a level of discomfort and have told me, I don’t know how to talk to God

Be Yourself

The first thing that I would like to address as it pertains to communicating with God is just this, Be Yourself!  I’m aware of the fact that many people have been made to feel like they can’t be themselves around some Christians and then when you couple that experience with the experience of going to a church and hearing other people pray in a way that seems so much different than how they talk to you, it could easily leave someone with the impression that, when it comes to talking to God, there is an unnatural formula that is supposed to be complied with.  I’d just like to set the record straight in saying that, this perspective is just not accurate…

Even I, on occasion, have felt that pressure to perform when talking to God.  Several years ago I remember feeling convicted by the Holy Spirit when I was with a group of Pastors and was asked to pray in front of them.  In hind-sight it was comical, but I remember bowing my head, closing my eyes and praying this ridiculous, inauthentic prayer of pomp and circumstance in front of these men that I respected.  What was funny about the whole thing is, mid way through the prayer I felt like I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit say to me, Who in the world are you…?  As if He were saying, you look like my son, your voice sounds like my son but my son doesn’t talk like that

It’s funny because, I talk to God like I talk to my dad.  I can’t tell you how many times I have said something to God like, That was so cool what you just did!  Or God you are so awesome, I’m blown away by your creation!  Or, God, that was some FUNNY STUFF right there, I know I’m your favorite just because you allowed me to see that!  So, for me to go from being so openly me to being putting on some kind of show to impress the people that I was around… Let’s just say, I could tell God was not impressed with my showmanship.

God made you the individual that you are!  He calls you His child and He loves you more that your finite mind will ever be able to comprehend.  God created you to have a relationship with Him and He wants you to communicate with Him!  He wants to hear your thoughts on issues, He cares about that which concerns you and He wants you to talk to Him about the things that you are needing in your life!

Matthew 11:28

Amplified Bible (AMP)

28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will [a]ease and relieve and [b]refresh [c]your souls.]

As was stated in the opening scripture in this chapter, God has literally said in His Word for us to make our petitions known to God through prayer!  Part of the covenant that was established with God through the death and resurrection of Christ was a restored relationship with God!  Because of what Jesus did, we can now go directly TO God with our requests instead of having to ask a priest to do it for us!  It is literally the desire of God for us to come directly to Him with our needs so that He can answer our prayers!  Not only do we just have a right to talk to God, but the God who created the universe in all of its splendor wants for you to communicate with Him!

Matthew 7:7-8

Amplified Bible (AMP)

7[a]Keep on asking and it will be given you; [b] keep on seeking and you will find; [c]keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.

    8For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.

 

We are not bothering God when we talk to him or come to Him in prayer.  God is bigger than our needs and He is big enough to handle all that we can bring to Him!  It’s not like He has a telephone with one line and if you call Him, you are going hold up the line where someone with a “bigger problem” can’t get through!  God is big enough to hear and answer your prayers along with EVERY other one of His children in the world!  You are God’s family and He wants to hear from you!

Matthew 7:9-11

Amplified Bible (AMP)

9Or what man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone?  10Or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent? 11If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and [a]advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and[b]advantageous things to those who [c]keep on asking Him!

We are not bothering God when we communicate with Him or ask Him for something!  Because you are His child you have every right to come to Him and talk to Him about whatever is on your mind or concerning your heart.

I heard a song many years ago by a group named Scarecrown and Tinman called You are my Son.  I’ve often reflected back on this song because of the intimate fatherly nature of God that it conveys in the chorus:

I know your name and I weep when you hurt and I cheer when you win because you are my son.  I will come when you call, I will hear your prayers and I will fight for my name because you are my son…


I remember the first time I heard those lyrics just sitting there in tears as I saw God in a light that I had previously not seen Him before.  As a father myself I now understand in even more detail the depth of those words.  Interestingly enough, as I typed that last paragraph, my 3 year old son, Rocky walked over to the banister and yelled downstairs at me writing, Dad…I love you… As his father, when he hurts, I hurt, when he has fun, I have fun, when he sings and dances it makes me want to sing and dance.  My best friend is a 3 year old right now…I don’t know how that happens but it does and when I think about God from that perspective it changes my paradigm of Him.  I understand Him more because I understand love on a fatherly scale now more than ever before.

God, whose first and foremost nature is Love, loves us more than any father could possibly love His child.  He is meticulously aware of you and I believe that if you could audibly hear His voice, 24/7 He’d be telling you how much He loves you and wants you to walk in the wholeness and freedom that is available to you!  I believe He’d tell you how excited He was to see you step into your victories and how much His heart hurt when He saw you hurting…Because you are His child…

We are His child not His servant

 

Galatians 4:4-7

Amplified Bible (AMP)

4But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to [the regulations of] the Law,

    5To purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to [a]atone for) those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us [and be recognized as God’s sons].

    6And because you [really] are [His] sons, God has sent the [[b]Holy] Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba (Father)! Father!

    7Therefore, you are no longer a slave (bond servant) but a son; and if a son, then [it follows that you are] an heir [c]by the aid of God, through Christ.

So many Christians go from being bound by sin to being bound by religion and they

never really embrace the freedom that Christ provided for them as sons of God!  Because they have operated under a slavery to sin concept for so long, many enter into Christianity with the same slavery mentalities.  But God isn’t wanting slaves, if He did He would not have created us with the ability to choose to love Him.  On the contrary, God calls us sons and desires to have a relationship with us that puts to shame the slave/master relationship!  He sees you as so much more than you may have perceived yourself to be!  You are His child and you have EVERY RIGHT to come to Him with your concerns, desires, requests, exciting stories, dreams and victories!  You can talk to Him just like you would someone who, beyond any doubt, loves you with all His heart and wants good things for your life!

Hebrews 4:16

Amplified Bible (AMP)

16Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].

We have made communicating with God more complicated than it needs to be.  God is not a million miles away from us, His Spirit resides WITHIN us!  He’s as close to us as our breath!  We can simply talk to God and know we know that His Word says when we do, He hears us, because we are His children and we have a covenant relationship with Him!

Proverbs 15:29

Amplified Bible (AMP)

29The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the [consistently] righteous (the upright, in right standing with Him).

What’s great about this scripture above is that we ARE consistently righteous in God’s eyes because of our covenant with Him through Christ!  So, the favor of God that was previously obtained through strict adherence to rules and sacrificing of animals by a priest who approached God for us as a liaison is now ours through Christ!  We ARE made righteous and as a result, we can go directly to God with our needs and when we approach God, He hears our prayers!

When We Don’t Know What To Pray

I said earlier that God meticulously cares for us!  He knows us so well that even when we don’t know what to pray or how to pray, He comes to our aid by simply interpreting what is in our heart.

Romans 8:26

The Message (MSG)

 26-28Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have felt exhausted in the fight I was going through.  I remember the first time I read this scripture above in the message version of the bible and, like the song that I mentioned earlier, it presented God in a new light to me.

When I read the part about God making prayer out of our wordless sighs and our aching groans… It was just clear to me that I mean so much more to God than I could even imagine and He truly does know me on a level that I simply cannot fully comprehend with my mind!

The visual that I have is of a child just climbing up in his daddy’s lap and crying.  The child doesn’t have to say a word, his father knows exactly what is troubling him and simply climbing up in His lap puts him in the place where his daddy can comfort him…We don’t have to come to God with a bunch of words… Sometimes just setting time aside to climb up in His lap is all we need to do… At that point, He interprets the sighs and feelings of our heart.

This perspective became alive to me after reading that scripture.  I know there have been so many times that I just didn’t have words but my heart was so heavy… In those seasons, sometimes all I could do was just say, Jesus and then sit there and breathe.   Yet somehow, I knew He heard me and was right there.  It didn’t necessarily make sense in my mind, but my spirit just knew it to be truth…When I read that scripture in the context of God interpreting our sighs and groans, for me it put words to an experience that I had just known to be true for a long time…

There are things about God that we will never fully understand with our minds but there will be a confirmation in our heart (spirit) that will just KNOW that what is being conveyed is truth!  It may not be rational to our minds, but we feel an undeniable YES in our spirit!

1 Corinthians 2:14

New International Version (NIV)

14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

This is part of communicating with God and Him communicating with us.  Sometimes there is just a peace in knowing that God is working on our behalf, even when, in our minds, everything appears to be going in the wrong direction.  Many times in my life I have felt so completely out of control and going in a seemingly downward spiral and then, from deep inside my spirit, I say something like, God is Faithful! 

 

That is not something that was discerned by my mind but rather my spirit confirming what it knows to be the truth despite my circumstances!

No matter what we are going through God is faithful to help us and bring us through!  Sometimes you may see an immediate miracle breakthrough, other times there may be a step by step learning process that ultimately brings us to a place of complete healing, I’ve experienced both in my life.  I’ve seen the miraculous immediate answer to prayer and learned specific lessons from it, and I’ve learned different things from having gone through the seasons where my prayers were not immediately answered in the way I anticipated and I had to take progressive steps toward my breakthrough.

I’ve come to realize that sometimes my prayers and desires were ahead of my ability to carry what I asked for and I reached a roadblock of sorts.  At least in my experiences, during those seasons where I perceived I was not moving forward, God was actually equipping me and strengthening me to handle what was His heart to provide but I was not yet equipped or ready to handle.

I would liken it to a teenager anxiously awaiting his drivers license.  The liberty and freedom that comes with that permit also carries a necessary maturity and responsibility.  Although they may ask, the reason we do not permit 10 year old children to drive cars is that they are not yet developed to a point of maturity where they could handle that responsibility.  The reason we do not give a 15 year old a license is because they have not yet completed the training that was necessary to carry that responsibility.  But when they have completed the training and accomplished all of the prerequisites that were set up for them in order for them to step forward in that freedom, then the metaphorical road blocks are lifted and they can again begin moving forward in a new level of maturity and understanding.

For those of us who have driven for 20 years, we realize that a 16 year old does not know everything that is needed to be known about driving once they get that license, but rather, they have reached the place where a new level of freedom and maturity begins.  And it is not that different from our experience in Christianity.

We are all in a different place from a spiritual perspective, we have been given everything that we need in Christ, but we will always be experiencing different levels of growth, maturity and victories.  Sometimes we may think that we are ready for something that God knows we are not yet prepared to handle.

In those seasons there may be frustration when we ask God for the open door or to take us to the next level…when He knows that we are not quite as prepared as we think we are to handle the responsibilities at that level.

When that happens, it’s important to realize that God is faithful and His Word is truth!  We can continue to pray and believe God for our breakthrough and His Word says that we will receive it!  In my own experience, the answer has not always been according to my timeframes but, He has always been faithful to complete the work that He has begun in me!

Matthew 21:22

Amplified Bible (AMP)

22And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive.

I’ve met so many people, including myself, who have been frustrated because they didn’t feel like God was answering their prayers in the time frames that they felt that He needed to.   And for that reason, I believe it is important to have briefly shared my experiences in that arena.  I don’t believe that God is not hearing your prayer or that He will not answer it, but rather, in His infinite knowledge of what you want and what you need, He knows what will help you the most and when it will be the most beneficial for you to receive it as you continue to pursue your destiny!  At the proper time, you will receive your breakthrough if you continue walking in faith in Him.

Galatians 6:9

New International Version (NIV)

9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

So, in those seasons where we feel like we are in limbo and are not sure what or how to pray…what should we pray…?

Teach us to Pray

 

In the book of Matthew chapter 6, Jesus addresses how we should pray.  I would encourage you to read the entire chapter of Matthew 6 because there are many things that are addressed as it pertains to our attitudes when we pray and even why we pray but for this chapter in this book, I would like to focus on verses 9-13

Matthew 6:9-13

Amplified Bible (AMP)

9Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.

    10Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    11Give us this day our daily bread.

    12And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven ([a]left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have [b]given up resentment against) our debtors.

    13And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

What Jesus modeled here was not intended to be an exact word for word repetition, but rather an example of what to address in prayer when talking to God and I would say, particularly in seasons when we are struggling with where we are at and how to move forward this model an bring peace and strength to our seemingly chaotic lives.

I’m going to break this prayer down verse by verse to help make more clear what is being addressed:

9Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.

Here Jesus is showing us to honor God.  He is the omnipotent creator of the universe!  He is greater than our circumstances and well equipped to handle our needs and He is our Father whom we have a very special and intimate relationship with!  He is Holy, He is God and He is our Father!  Keeping all of those things in perspective as we pray is important because that realization actually BUILDS our faith.  He’s all of those things, not just one and being a combination of all of them comes a deeper understanding of who we are IN Him.

                10Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus is saying here to invite God to reign in your life as Lord and King so that His will on this earth and in your life would be manifested as it is in heaven.  As we have addressed in previous chapters, there is significant authority that we have been delegated to us on this earth by God, through Christ!  What God has established as His will for us on this earth is outlined in His Word through His promises and it parallels what His will looks like as it has been established in Heaven!

If the body of Christ were walking in the fullness of the authority that we have been commissioned to walk in, things on this earth would look very different and I believe this is what Christ was exampling here in verse 10 as He showed us to pray that the will of God for His people in the earth would be manifested in their lives!  So that, when we are experiencing something in our life that is contrary to what God has promised in His Word, we pray that His will be done on this earth where He has commissioned us to exercise authority in His name just like it is in Heaven.

11Give us this day our daily bread.

Our daily bread here is indicative of anything that we would need for life and sustenance.  It could also be interpreted, Give us this day our needed provisions and I believe that Jesus is just showing us that all that we need is found in God and furthermore that presenting our requests directly to Him is an acceptable aspect of communicating with God.

Some people are uncomfortable asking God for things that they want or need and Jesus is putting that thought process to rest when He modeled for us that asking God for things is absolutely part of how we talk to God.

 12And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven ([a]left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have [b]given up resentment against) our debtors.

Forgiveness is an essential aspect of who we are as Christians!  We have been forgiven of a lifetime of sin and made righteous through Christ even when we did not deserve to be.  God expects for us to also extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us as Luke 12:48 says, to whom much is given much is required.  Forgiving others and not being bound by bitterness is part of who we are in Christ.  It is Gods nature flowing through us as we extend the very grace that was shown toward us to others.

    13And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

When the devil attacks us we can ask God for assistance in combating him.  Doing so is also another aspect of prayer.  James 5:16 says that the fervent prayer of the righteous avails much.  So when Satan attacks us with temptation, we can ask God for the strength to overcome and talk to Him about what is concerning us.  I believe that is specifically what Jesus was modeling here.  When the devil comes in to steal, kill and destroy, we can go to our Father God and ask Him for some guidance and breakthrough because He is our King and the Lord of our life and we function under the authority of His power forever…Amen

Some have taken this passage of scripture, often referred to as The Lords Prayer, and made it a prayer of repetition that they say daily during their obligatory time with God without considering the depth of what was being said.  I don’t believe that it was intended by Jesus for the disciples to only pray that prayer every time they pray but simply to use it as a guide in seasons when they are struggling and don’t know what to pray or perhaps to even be an example for people who might not know what they are allowed to ask God for to have clarity.

Like many, I grew up in church and talking to God was a part of my daily experience.  But for those who did not, I can imagine how confusing, intimidating or even humbling it might be to talk to the God who you have never spoken with before!  As a result, I believe that Jesus was modeling and saying in this passage,  Ask whatever you need, talk to God about it, but just remember where you came from and who you are talking to when you do.  You’ve been forgiven of a lot, so make sure and pay that forward and keep in mind that there is nothing too big for God!  When you find yourself in a pinch, go to Him and ask Him for help.  He’s the God who created the universe and is the Lord and King of your life, but He is also your father…He’ll help you beat the evil that attempts to derail your life through His power and glory…(amen-so be it)

 

I realize that sometimes it is hard to fathom the love that God has for us and as a result it may be difficult to confidently go to Him in prayer.  But throughout His Word, it is repeatedly confirmed that God loves us and He has asked us to come to Him with whatever is concerning us.  If we need peace, he will give us rest (Matthew 11:28).  If we need healing, He is our healer (Exodus 15:26, Isaiah 53:5, 2 Peter 2:24).  If we need wisdom and guidance, He gives it freely (James 1:5).  If we need a friend, He is one that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).  If we need a father, He is the father to the fatherless (Psalms 68:5).  If we need provision, He is the Lord God our provider (Philippians 4:19).

When we place Him in the position of Lord in our life, His promises become our inheritance.

2 Corinthians 1:19-20

Amplified Bible (AMP)

19For the Son of God, Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who has been preached among you by us, by myself, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not Yes and No; but in Him it is [always the divine] Yes.

    20For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes [answer] in Him [Christ]. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God.

God is who He says He is, you are who He says you are and you can do whatever He says you can do… He says come boldly to Him, make your requests known and He will answer your prayers!

So what are you waiting for…?  Your ability to talk directly to God is an essential part of the covenant that Christ provided for you!  That restored relationship with God makes it possible for you to go directly to your Daddy, sit on His lap and tell him everything that is going on in your life.

Don’t function beneath what Christ provided for you… The provision is there for a reason.  Take advantage of it!

 

3 Comments

  1. Susy Jennings

    Wow! Great read! I always tell women they r princesses since they r daughters of the King!

    Reply
  2. Ben Z

    Excellent stuff! If only I had read this years ago when I was trying to over formalize my prayers…

    Reply
  3. Cynthia Cartier

    Great inspiring message <3

    Reply

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