By Pastor Nathan Richardson, Heartland Community Church, La Porte City
Communication with God
Craig Groeschel, the Pastor of Life.Church defines prayer as, “communication with God.” He says this to try to simplify the idea of prayer. Just talk to him. The problem with this definition is Groeschel assumes people already know how to communicate.
Communication seems simple enough but why do so many people struggle conversationally? Are we so distracted by other things that we do not know how to be present with the person we are with? Are we constantly looking at our phones? Maybe listening is hard for you and you are always interrupting someone to share your perspective on their situation. Maybe our conversation is all over the place and we cannot understand what someone is trying to say. Maybe we have bad body language and you give off the impression that you are bored. Maybe you are slouching or not keeping eye contact. Maybe continual conversation is hard because of the lack of consistency in the relationship.
I think Craig Groeschel believes communication with God is easy because he is also good at other relationships in his life. But this is probably not the normal for most Americans. We tend to be bad at relationships because we try to cram too much into our lives, we shove the “unimportant” of our lives on the side. Communication is one of those things we are constantly placing on the side burner because we can always do it later. But later does not happen as often enough and you find yourself in poor relationship really not knowing or understanding the other person. What used to be a close friend is now a distant memory. You have changed and they have changed as well.
This easily happens in our relationship with God, except God does not change. But we must find a way to keep that communication going with our Heavenly Father. Jesus prayed often, sometimes even going to specific places probably because he felt a connection with his Father there. The disciples noticed it and in Luke 11, asked Jesus to “teach us to pray.” Jesus answered, “when you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.”
A similar prayer is addressed in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6. These prayers have become what we know today as the Lord’s prayer with a few additions. As you look at the passage you see it is a very relational conversation between Jesus and his Father. This prayer has a lot of advice about how to be a good prayer but how to be a good friend.
Jesus addresses his father as Holy. Showing he knows him and giving him adoration. Friends must spend time together to know each other.
He invites the Father’s Kingdom to come. Showing that he is giving priority to God. “not my will but yours be done. Friends trust each other.
He asks for daily bread. God provides for his needs. Friends take care of each other.
He told them to ask for forgiveness and that we should have the same mindset of forgiving those who have wronged us. Friends do not hold grudges.
He prayed “lead us not into temptation.” He knows people can get wrapped up into the wrong crowd. Friends for each other’s soul. We want the best for our friends.
Communication with God is relatively simple but it does take work. We need to treat it like we do with anyone else. Take time to converse, learn to trust, help each other out, forgive, fight for your friend. Do not worry. It is not possible to mess up prayer. All you have to do is communicate with God.