Our daughter, Hannah, was home from college last weekend. Jon and I took her out for breakfast one morning and I just couldn’t help but stare at her . There she was, in the flesh, sitting across the table eating chocolate chip pancakes and telling us about life at school in Arizona. I reached across the table to hold her hand, and she laughed and said, “Mom, why are you being so weird?” I laughed back, “I know, I just miss you when you are away and am so glad to be talking to you face to face.”
I do miss her, but I am really thankful for this little technology marvel called Facetime that she and I use when she is back at school. It is the next best thing to watching her eat chocolate chip pancakes in person. I love Facetime because I can experience her world a little better. Sometimes she is walking through campus, or washing her face in the mirror, or in line at Chipotle. I’m right there, connected with her.
It is a far cry from communication of the past. My in-laws were in town a couple of weeks ago and they were telling stories of when my father-in-law, Vin, was stationed on an aircraft carrier at sea for six months at a time while in the military. Letters were the only way of communication to his wife and kids except for the occasional phone call. These phone calls would have no prior notice and my mother-in-law would have to just hope she was at home to receive the call on her land-line.
I am sure during those many months home as a single-mom, my mother-in-law longed for a face to face conversation with her husband, or to reach out and hold his hand, as did my father-in-law on a ship at sea for days on end. And I’m sure they would have been thrilled to be able to FaceTime each other each night. It would have dramatically changed the experience for them.
I think that we often communicate with God in pre-FaceTime mindset.
We send up a “letter” to God, a one way form of communication with hopes of receiving an answer back sometime in the future. We perceive our relationship with him to be long-distance. We hope we are listening and aware when he hopefully decides to respond to a prayer. When we pray it is without assurance that someone is really listening on the other side.
And then we wonder why our connection to God is struggling and why he seems unreachable.
It’s time for a technology update in our prayer life.
I just finished reading the newly published book, Talking To Jesus, by Jeannie Blackmer. Jeannie writes about how the bible records many conversations people had with Jesus, and if we took a fresh look at those conversations as “prayers” it gives us a whole new perspective on how reachable, close and present Jesus really is.
Men and women in the bible approached Jesus during his time on earth with different requests or situations. And he responded. Like when he was sought out by the grieving ruler whose daughter had just died of a mysterious illness. Jesus responded by walking to the ruler’s house, taking the child’s hand and commanding her to wake up. She immediately began breathing again.
Let that sink in. Regular folks like you and me approached the Son of God and asked for physical healing, or to understand him better, or to calm a storm, or for wisdom or direction, or to describe the cost of following him. And he listened and had a response to their need.
Aren’t those the topics we go to God with every day? What if we truly believed we had direct access to him anytime. What if we embraced the fact that Jesus wants to communicate and respond to our needs just as earnestly now as he did in biblical times? How would that change our prayer life?
While true face to face conversations with Jesus will happen only when we get to heaven, I do think we can liken our prayer life to a Facetime call. He is right there, having a conversation with me and acknowledging my questions and concerns. His responses are not random. I can picture his face and his loving expressions…and maybe entertain the idea that he’s eating chocolate chip pancakes while we talk.
I realize this metaphor might be stretching it a bit…but here my point. Let’s not treat our interactions with God as if he is far away, with time and distance preventing intimate, present, personal relationship.
And the disciples asked Jesus, “Where are we going to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” Matthew15:33
Personal, present, honest.
What if we asked Jesus for help in our lives today as assuredly as the real people who did 2000 years ago? What if we got rid of our old technology mindset?
Jeannie explores this idea with beautiful conversations and written illustrations in her book. If you would like to understand this personal way of praying even more, I would highly recommend reading TALKING TO JESUS. Not only does she share the conversations people had with Jesus in detail and depth, but she then invites us into personal reflection that encourages us to go deeper in our own prayer lives.
If you struggle with prayer like so many of us, this book is a must read…you may even begin to experience Jesus like he is sitting right across the table from you, listening to you talk, reaching for more syrup.
You can get the book here: http://amzn.to/2y2Y1Rf
Blessings to you this week!
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