Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
-- Jeremiah 29:12
Imagine what would happen if someone famous from long ago (maybe George Washington?) reappeared in 21st Century America. There's no doubt that George would be amazed at how his nation had grown over the last 240 years. And of course, he would be impressed by our modern conveniences and technology, our superhighways--and maybe even our shopping malls.
But how would our first president react if we told him about modern communications? Could we blame him if he refused to believe that the air is actually filled with music, sporting events, news reports and talk shows? And how quickly would he become a believer if we took an iPhone from our pocket and called someone a continent away?
Many Christ-followers today are a lot like this modern George Washington. A recurring theme in the Bible is that God wants a relationship with us and attempts to communicate His love in many ways. But if we're not able (or willing) to pick up His signals, all we get is static.
What should we be listening for? God speaks in many ways, both expected, surprising...and somewhere in between. First, it's through the Bible--our user's manual for living a fulfilled life in preparation for an eternity with him. But God can also communicate through our friends, a worship service or even a discussion in your Small Group. Your 5-year-old child might say something straight out of the blue. Even a stranger in the supermarket checkout line could convey the Lord's message.
(A coincidence isn't always a coincidence.)
God wants a relationship with his creation. But it's not much of a relationship if the communication comes from only one direction. Instead, ongoing prayer--a constant conversation with God--must become a priority for every Christ-follower. And since we tend to be distracted by the static of life, we need to ask him to open our ears, heart and mind in faith. If we truly want a relationship with our Creator, he will eventually speak and answer us in one form or another.
There's no doubt that George Washington would be impressed by email, Skype and the other modern ways we communicate with loved ones. But history records that he was an expert practitioner of a much better kind of communication. It's one that's nearly as old as creation itself--and much more personal. It's called prayer. And it allows us to talk with God.
Try that sometime with Facebook.