How many of us ask the question, are you there God? Sure we do. Most of us, even those not of a religious persuasion have a general idea how to pray. Even us who are religious, who think we know how to pray usually do not believe in an actual conversation with God. Many find the Bible as God speaking to us through inspired writing and recorded history. While we most certainly take away many life lessons using the Bible as the major text for practicing the Christian religion, especially the use of the Pauline text. The Bible was still technically written for others. We must use the art and science of hermeneutics to create a relevant interpretation of the text for today. I am not undermining the powerful messages contained in Holy scripture, what I am alluding to is that it is not always easy for many to relate to. We tell people we can have a personal relationship with Christ; but do we really? What if you could have a real personalized message from God that you can channel right now?
Please before you stop reading, thinking this is some new age mumbo jumbo, please let me assure you that it is not. Remember that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV). The same God who inspired the words of the Bible though ordinary men, is more than capable of inspiring you. You may still be ready to quit reading and say, well if this is the case why even have the Bible? I support the Bible. The Bible has been tested over time, the books contained within have been deemed by Godly men to be Holy cannon not to be added or replaced with our own inspirations. (Even when we believe they are from God.) What I am talking about is having a relationship with God; not writing new scripture based on our conversation with Him. Remember even when you do find yourself in actual conversation with God it may not always be clear or 100% God speaking to you. Let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul. “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NIV). Think of this conversation as trying to tune into a radio connection, it may be true and accurate, or hard to understand. We create bias because of the weakness of the flesh. I say all of this as a preamble so that you may understand what I am trying to communicate for your benefit.
Let us understand Jesus spoke plainly to us how to pray. “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” (Matthew 6:7, NIV). So if this is the case, we must wonder what Jesus was doing when we read verses such as Matthew 14:23, “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone” (NIV). In my imagination I would assume that Jesus was not rambling as he obviously was not fond of, but probably listening and conversing with his Father. We are also Christ-like, so we also can listen and converse with our Father as well.
It is of my opinion that God is always speaking to us. The book of Genesis tells us that God would walk with man in the cool of the day. It was people who put up a barrier between himself and God. Through the incarnation of Jesus this walk is reestablished. Often, when we should be listening and talking with God, we continue to wear fig leaves, hiding because we believe the lie of shame. We must establish that you have no shame, you can talk with God, and God is not looking at you in anger but in love. Now let us begin as I lay out the basic steps that I use to talk with God. I may not have the right formula for you. This is what works for me, I hope it will also work for you as well.
1. Bathing ourselves in prayer.
2. Listen in silence until you hear.
3. Start a conversation.
First, we must be people of prayer. We must bathe ourselves in prayer. The Apostle Paul tells us in the book of Thessalonians to pray without ceasing. This of course does not mean that we constantly use words in our prayer. To bathe oneself in prayer is to possess constant knowledge of the presence of God in your mist. To always be conscious of God, to understand that all people are representatives of God. That God is in everything big and small, God consumes like fire your thoughts, actions, and desires.
Second, we must remain silent before God. Often a good method is to use what those in the east call meditation. This is done by focusing on the breath. Sitting still, deeply breathing in and out, clearing the mind and simply breath. Yes, there will be thoughts that enter your mind, that is ok. It is perfectly natural for unwanted thoughts to remain. Simply continue to breath and ignore the unwanted thoughts, knowing this is natural. Sitting in silence is missing within most Christian circles. Do we really think that Jesus spoke all night long to God without listening? Of course not! Being able to sit in silent prayer is an essential step to clear away all the distractions that our minds possess which creates a barrier to the Spirit of God.
During this time of sitting in silence you may begin to start hearing. You may be thinking that you are just hearing thoughts created by your own mind; yes, they are created by your mind, but most importantly, is it God inspiring your thoughts? As you continue to pray and sit in silent meditation those thoughts which you might wonder are of yourself, or are of God become clearer. This takes faith, you certainly will try to resist; you will say “how can this be God?” To be honest I believe it is a little bit of both God and yourself. Yes, it is you, yes, it is God. Therefore, what you hear in your mind is not “Thus sayeth the Lord” of course there will be bias in the message as the Spirit is talking to you through the conduit of your mind. Remember when Abraham was given the message from God to leave his home town? Abraham had to step out in faith and just believe. So, it is with hearing from God. Granted we must use discernment and base everything that we hear against the Biblical text.
Finally having conversation with God. Some would say it is like having conversation with your higher self. God who is in all things is also a part of you, there is no part of you that is not of God. Some would call this your Holy Guardian Angel, or simply the true you, which is connected to the ultimate divine source. This may seem like you are talking to yourself. In some ways you are, yet that is not actually the case. What is taking place is your Spirit is talking with God’s Spirit and in the middle, is your mind (the conduit).
So, let us begin to have a conversation with God. I have heard from many people who question having a conversation with God. “I can not hear God” “God does not speak to me” What I ask of you is to take that step of faith. If you wish to hear God, know he is constantly speaking to you. We must just tune in. Set aside 30 minutes every day, within that time pray as you would regularly pray, then begin to sit and listen to the sound of your own breath. Allow your mind to be at peace, one with all things, then start to listen. Did you hear that? He said I love you. Now respond, I love you God, thank you for speaking with me. Respond back however you wish. Remember God walking in the cool of the day with man? Now you, through your mind are now walking in the cool of the day with God!