"I like hearing myself talk", my friend said. "But, I've been working at being more succinct to make space for others. I have good things to say. Others affirm that, but I don't get to understand what is in someone else's heart if I don't listen."
So goes the average prayer life, eh? We speak, He listens. We ask, He responds. We tell Him what we want, and He delivers; like placing an order to be delivered by FedEx the next day. Is this the kind of 'conversation' He wants to have with us? What about us asking and then listening. Or what about just simply listening. "Dad, I'm just going to hang out with You because I enjoy you and want to hear anything You want to say to me." If there is one worthy of dominating a conversation, it would be Him. Is my prayer life making space to hear him?
Today, a pastor asked me to recommend a marriage coaching couple for a marriage in crisis. I had two choices: 1. Flip through the rolodex of my mind to locate the most suitable couple, or 2. Ask God to give me the names of the couple(s) He has in mind for the marriage that needs help. I chose the latter. Why? I want to make space to hear Him before I hear myself. Sure, He gave me a good mind and common sense to be able to evaluate the pros and cons of referring to specific couples. But the point I'm driving at is a matter of the order of the cart and the horse. I want to ask God before I ask myself. Since I want to live in constant conversation with the One who made me and loves me, I'm choosing to put His thoughts above mine.
Jesus explained to His disciples that part of the work of His Holy Spirit is to, "...remind you of everything I have taught you" (John 14:26). He also assured the disciples that as they went out and had opportunity to speak to others that they would be carried along by His Spirit who would provide words needed at those times.
In other words, I think Jesus was saying something like this, "Guys, you don't have to do this Great Commission thing on your own. I'm going to my Father but you're not going to be alone. It's going to be like I'm with you. All you have to do is pray to hear my voice through my Spirit and I'll be right there. In fact, it's going to be better than if I was physically present with you because there are no limitations to the presence of my Spirit to be in many places with many people at the same time. I'm still going to be with you. Don't fret. Just keep the conversation going as if I'm beside you just as I have been the past few years."
The point? He is available and He wants to be involved. All we have to do is make it a point to converse with Him. Thus, my conversation about a marriage coaching referral went like this, "Lord, you know what the pastor said. Who would you like to bring to mind that might be able to help them?" It wasn't long before two couples came to mind. So, I wrote a note to both, and copied the pastor. It wasn't long before I got a call from one couple. "Would you be able to share more about the referral?" I called back, "First, I want you to know that I prayed, and He brought you to mind." "Well", he said, "I guess I'll thank God instead of you for the referral." Good.
Just last night I read a brief interview with Mother Theresa. "What do you do when you pray?" she was asked. "I listen." "What does God do?" the reporter asked. "He listens" she said. I'm still puzzling over that one a bit. Conversations in which we do more listening than talking puts the horse in the proper order, don't you think?
Well, I'm off to listen a little bit now.
God bless, Jeff
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