Have you ever been in love with someone who constantly kept you at an emotional arm’s length? It was torture, wasn’t it? And yet we sometimes do the same thing to God.
God wants to be our first love because we are His. We were made for this. In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), and it doesn’t require all sorts of mystery and magic. It requires that we give our hearts completely and naturally, as we would to anyone we love and trust.
Do you have a “prayer life”?
We can’t just have a “prayer life” distinct from the rest of our lives. It’s almost an oxymoron. God doesn’t want us to just set aside some of our time out of guilt or obligation so that we can fulfill our duty and talk to Him. How would that work in your other relationships? This is like saying, if you’re married, that you have a “spouse life” distinct from the rest of your life–a segregated part of your life that isn’t holistic and integrated. If the time you spend and the intimacy you share with your spouse is based on guilt, duty, or obligation, what sort of relationship do you have? Not a particularly life-giving and nourishing one.
God isn’t interested in being an obligation. He wants to be our everything. He wants to be holistically included in everything we do and think and dream about and hope for. He wants to enter into the doubt, fear, joy, and pain with us. He doesn’t want to be a segmented part of our lives. He wants to be our lives. He is our very source of life (John 7:37-39). We must reframe our picture of what interacting with God is all about. He’s not there just for crises. Talking to Him isn’t just about gratefulness or worship or petition or complaint. It’s all of that and everything else that happens every day.
It’s not about a time clock that you have to punch to make sure you’re giving enough minutes to God. In life, if there is a stopwatch for the amount of time you get to talk or listen, then you’re typically paying for that time with a therapist or consultant or attorney. It’s a transaction, not a relationship.
Let life become your prayer.
Good conversation just happens. Conversational intimacy happens in the spoken places, and it happens in the silent spaces between. A relationship is always happening. Invite God into every act and aspect of your life at all times and in all places. To be oriented to God through the Bible, involved in an ongoing conversation with Him that never ceases, is the rich spiritual nourishment we need to thrive.
If we’re inviting God into everything that we do, think, and say, then life becomes a prayer. Talking to God and simply being present to Him becomes the great adventure of life and not just a compartmentalized duty. If we allow His presence into all our activities and secret thoughts and aspirations, then He is involved in who we are and who we are becoming. He is nourishing us with His life and inviting us forward through the conversational intimacy we share every day in relationship.
Dive deeper into Reframe: From the God We’ve Made…to God with Us by Brian Hardin.