Growing a prayer life

Photo: Mariager, Denmark by Agner Ebild

New technology amazes us, even though we may not be able to afford all the latest gadgets. The forefront of technology has a lot to do with communication. Cell phone developments and the use of G.P.S. and other satellite capabilities have created a world in which we are almost never out of touch. You may be browsing this website at a wi-fi café that would astonish your grandparents. You can’t imagine living in a world without instant communication.

Yet all these modern advances have lessons to teach us. Take the theological mysteries of prayer, for example. How many of us have wondered about God’s ability to give attention to the simultaneous prayers of millions of people around the globe. Yet communications satellites are regularly handling hundreds of thousands of cell conversations at the same time. The analogy isn’t perfect, but it helps us appreciate God’s much greater divine capacity and uniqueness.

More and more vehicles come equipped with an emergency call button. Press it and an operator is instantly available to answer questions, offer directions, and relay emergency calls. In certain emergencies, such as an airbag deployment, the system automatically signals a distress call and supplies your location to emergency personnel. It turns out that the satellite global positioning software has been tracking your every movement.

For anyone who has ever wondered if we are ever out-of-touch or out-of-mind when it comes to God, our own primitive technology points to the answer. It may be amazing, but God knows where we are, what we’re up to, and what we need.

Prayer—simply talking with God—becomes a spiritual "emergency call button" that we are able to press at any moment to access our heavenly Father, knowing that he has been tracking us continuously. He loves you, and wants to hear from you. He is always available. Tell God your thoughts and concerns; praise him for who he is; thank him for his answers.

Prayer also involves listening—to hear God’s still small voice. This is not an audible voice, but an impression in our heart or mind, a particular verse in the Bible that really hits home. As we develop our relationship with God, we become more and more comfortable with these quiet "interruptions" of God’s counsel, direction, and help, even when we haven’t asked for it.

That magic blue button on automobiles comes with a fee; the privilege of prayer comes free with our relationship to God. The ancient songwriter David may have known nothing about the G.P.S., but his words echo the truth that God is ever with us, ready to hear our prayers:

"O LORD, you have examined my heart

and know everything about me.

You know when I sit down or stand up.

You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.

You know everything I do.

You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, LORD.z
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me."
(Psalm 139:1-11)

How aware are you of God’s presence in your life? Have you talked to him today?

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