Just Talking to Him

She's still talking to Him!

She’s still talking to Him!

We have talked recently about listening for God’s voice. But the other side of prayer – the talking side – is important, too. I believe God wants the kind of relationship with us that Jesus had with His disciples. The kind where we walk together, talking as we go.

One day I was taking my two young grandchildren to the local library. On the way, the one-year old was riding contentedly in his car seat and the three-year old was in her adjacent seat, saying something that I couldn’t understand. I had tuned her out due to traffic concerns, but, after a minute, I turned and said, “I didn’t hear you, honey, can you tell me what you were saying?”

“I wasn’t talking to you,” she responded. “I was talking to God.”

“Oh, you were praying.”

“No, I was just talking to Him.”

She was three years old and understood something I had been trying to put my finger on for years. God wants the kind of relationship with me where there is continual conversation. I am learning, yet, to talk to Him as I go through my day. To remember that He is always present and always eager to have His presence acknowledged and enjoyed. I can’t say that I pray all day long, but often I do find myself “ . . . just talking to Him.” Do you, too?

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.” – 1 Peter 3:1

Just Listening



“Oh, God,” I said and that was all. But what are the prayers of the whole universe more than expansions of that one cry? It is not what God can give us, but God that we want. – George MacDonald

Do you want to know God better? To sense His presence in your life all day every day? To know He is directing your steps?

A practice that has been life-changing for me in this quest is called “listening prayer”. This is not just ordinary prayer, the worry list variety. Instead, it is God-focused prayer that invites a two-way conversation with Him. Want to try it? Here are some guidelines that might help:

  • Greeting: Open the conversation with a greeting that acknowledges His presence and His power. I often say, “Good morning, Lord. I worship You as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.”
  • Surrender: Invite the Holy Spirit to take over your entire being and to protect you from the evil one.
  • Confession: Ask the Spirit to reveal any sins for which you need to repent. Confess as soon as He points them out.
  • Quieting: Try to eliminate distractions. Often I simply ask myself “What burdens to I need to lay down?” Then as they come to mind, I give them over to God to hold while I turn my attention to Him.
  • Ask and Wait: If you are wrestling with a problem or sense a need for direction, ask Him a specific question. If you just want to know His presence and rest in His care, tell Him so. Now pause to listen. God wants prayer to be two-way communication. He speaks continually and we will hear His voice within us if we take time to listen.
  • Respond: Write it down any message you sense, then follow any direction He gives.
  • Close: You will not be able to resist thanking and praising God for His care for you. Amazing things happen his His presence!

“The Lord confides in those who fear Him.” Psalm 25:14a

Seeing and Being Seen


“I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the light.” ~Mary Gardiner Brainard

Do you remember Hagar, Sarah’s maid? When she and Sarah had a confrontation, Hagar ran away. As she sat despairingly in the desert, God spoke to her, told her to go back to Sarah, and then gave her promises about the son she carried and the descendants who would follow. Hagar’s difficult circumstances had not changed, but after she met God, she saw everything in new light. Her response was “You are the God who sees me . . . I have now seen the One who sees me.” (Gen. 16:13b)

I thought back on my own life and remembered all the times that “the God who sees” was with me just as He was with Hagar. I thought of times of financial stress, family crises, job pressures, and health issues. He was present at every turn for me. Seeing His hand, even in retrospect, is powerful. “Lord, You see, You know, You do not run away. You stick by my side and are more powerful, more loving, more consistent, and closer than any human companion could possibly be. Thank You for coming close to me when I felt lost and alone.”

The God who sees is also the God who lets us see Him. As we do, we become aware of His provision, guidance, and intervention. For Hagar it was promises about Ishmael and his descendants and direction to go back to Sarah. For me it has been reassurance, understanding, opened pathways, restored relationships, and wisdom.

My life is still messy sometimes, and I am sure yours is too. I am learning to look for God in the middle of the mess – I know for sure He is there! And He’s there in your mess, too. Stop and look – He wants us to see Him!

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

Sacred Pauses

How often do you think about God?

"Life is not a series of events to be controlled. Life is a way of walking through the universe whole and holy." - Joan Chittister

“Life is not a series of events to be controlled. Life is a way of walking through the universe whole and holy.” – Joan Chittister

Followers of Islam pray five times a day. Jews practice morning, afternoon, and evening prayers. Benedictine monks stop seven times every day for prayer and worship. What about us? I have my morning devotion time, to be sure, but the activity of the day can draw me away from connecting with God unless I intentionally bring myself back to awareness of Him. You, too? God deeply desires for us to be in continual unbroken relationship with Him. It seems He is just waiting for us to respond to His loving invitation.

I’d like to propose a “sacred pause challenge” today. Most likely our work days or our pace will not allow us to pause seven times, but maybe we could make a small adjustment to schedule and pause one time in the middle of things to acknowledge our Creator. We might need a trigger point so we don’t forget: Maybe when we stop for lunch or when we get in the car to go home after work, we can turn ourselves toward God. Here are some ideas of things we could do with a sacred pause:

• Choose a verse from our morning devotional time and reread it a few times aloud.
• Thank God for at least three things.
• Praise God for at least three of His attributes.
• Sing Him a song.
• Take a few deep breaths, quieting the body and mind, then just be still before Him.

It’s that simple. How about choosing one of these to practice at least once today then maybe tomorrow and the next day, too? Once we develop the habit of a midday sacred pause, we could add another and another until we are in touch with God throughout our day – every day. He will be pleased and we will be blessed!

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.'” – Isaiah 41:13

Trust Happens


Gratitude is the heart’s memory.” – Anonymous proverb

One day I was fussing around trying to get everything done, worrying about this and that – just restless, I guess. I felt the Holy Spirit’s nudge: “Don’t you have something you want to thank Me for?” Of course I did. I stopped my whirlwind and gave Him thanks for several things that came immediately to mind. As soon as I did, I felt my spirit move from restless to restful. It was amazing.

So what really happened? God’s reminder to thank Him was not for His benefit, it was for mine. A gratefulness pause made me realize all that God does for me every day and how much He must love me to remind me of that even when I was “toiling and spinning” like the biblical lilies of the field. Recognizing His character, His faithfulness, and His consistent drawing of me to Himself helped me to trust Him even in the middle of what felt like chaos.

Trusting is not an act of the will. Rather, it is an emotion that grows out of a confident relationship with God as we discover that He loves, protects, teaches, and rescues us – and has been doing it for years. Even brief moments of remembering His never-failing consistency nurtures the emotion of trust in my spirit. Over time, I am finding that trust is more often my first response to struggle instead of my second, third, or fourth.

Maybe we need to stop telling ourselves to trust God and, instead, start realizing who He is and what He does for us. As we make gratefulness a habit, trust happens. Understanding that has made a big difference for me. It can for you, too. Don’t you have something to thank Him for right now?

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” – Jeremiah 17:7