Sunday, October 21, 2018

Never a wasted word

I have found people have a harder and harder time communicating with each other these days unless it is done in some sort of emoji, tweet, or text message. We just don't interact face-to-face all that much anymore. The smartphones have given us access to our 'friends' 24-hours a day - pinging away with each newly composed message, cute video feed, or stunning social media post we receive. God isn't a 'social media' kind of guy, though. He really hasn't changed from his original plan of face-to-face interaction! It is called prayer and very few of us really 'get' how prayer works any longer because we have forgotten how it works to really share - to speak, listen, restate a conversation, mull things over together, and get down to the heart of the matter - all while being connected and vulnerable face-to-face.

God keeps his distance from the wicked; he closely attends to the prayers of God-loyal people.
(Proverbs 15:29)

There are times when we feel that our prayers are seemingly unanswered - just spoken words into a void that somehow absorbs them and doesn't do anything with them - like sending a text and not knowing if the other person ever saw it because there was no acknowledgement. Then there are other times when it seems that the words are no sooner spoken and they are answered - life's catastrophes avoided, circumstances changed, hearts mended - intervention comes quick and sure. Regardless of the "timing" of the answer, the promise we want to hold onto is that God closely attends to the prayers of his kids - those words spoken and shared with an open, vulnerable heart.

His attention to the "details" of our life is not accidental - it is purposeful and totally intentional, because he doesn't have to get 'caught up' on his 'timeline' or 'social feed'. I cannot fathom with my human mind how God keeps all the details of my life, the lives of my friends and family, not to mention the other several gazillion  people who live on this earth in his sight and constant attention. I don't have to understand the "abilities" of God to know whole-heartedly that I can count on them, though!

The promise is that God "closely attends" to the words of his people. Not the tweeted ones we post so often, but the ones we speak and those that have to be 'nursed' from our souls as we sit quietly together.  There are times I would rather God not hear the words of doubt intermingled in my prayers, the words of fear spoken in moments of terror and my undoing. Yet, in his intense love for us, he hears each and every one of the doubts and fears - taking them to his heart and wrapping them in his care. He does this because he is our "close" friend, our "caring" father, and our "compassionate" Savior.

Prayers are nothing more than the expressions of our heart. When we learn to share our heart with God in an open and realistic manner, he is there to "closely attend to" the various needs of our lives. Sometimes we don't think God wants to hear about our doubts - but how will he help us overcome them if we cannot express them freely? There are times we think it is not very "spiritual" to have fears, to be angry, to feel frustration - it may very well be that those "emotions" are what God needs to see and hear expressed in order to open us up to what it is he desires to do within.

Prayers can be desperate or easy, frantic or calm, rapid-fire or bubbling forth in a free-flow of expression. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to pray - the simple matter is that God wants to hear what is on your mind and in your heart. As he does, he attends to us like no other could possibly do. He intentionally intervenes wherever, whenever, and however we intentionally share our need. Open up to God in the honest expression of your heart and mind - learn how closely God attends to that open communication with him! Words spoke to God are never wasted words. Just sayin!