Pray Like God Is Listening

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“I don’t know what to say or where to begin.” This is a frequent response when I ask persons about their prayer life. This seems to settle the matter for them. They figure, “I can’t pray so I won’t.” While no relationship can survive without communication, some believers seem to think that you and I can get by without it, that our relationship with God is just fine without it. But God is not the silent type.

The Genesis narrative captures the God who talks to the Divine Self, who speaks when nothing and no one is around. God talks out ideas, creates with action: “Let there be light.” Creating the entire universe, every living, breathing, creeping, crawling, flying, walking thing and human being, God is loquacious. Still, many of us don’t know how to address God or how to keep the conversation going.

Consequently, our conversations with God are often short and sweet, blunt and ending in ultimatums, characterized by false starts and unnecessary endings. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop saying what you need to say to God.

The gospel writer John describes Jesus as “the Word made flesh” and yet, we believe and behave as if God is unapproachable (John 1:14). The Word made flesh, what else does God have to say to show interest and investment in life with us? Jesus is God with us, God around us, God found among us. We don’t have to search for God or for the right words. Just pray. Say what’s been on your mind. Say what you wanted to say but it’s just not the right time.

Pray like you have all the time in the world. “Pray without ceasing,” Paul says to the community of believers at Thessalonica (1 Thess 5:17). Talk to God without interruption. Don’t worry about God’s need to get a word in. God will not interrupt. Get it all out.

Pray like God is leaning in, with elbows on the table while hanging on to your every word. Pray like God is nodding in agreement with good news or frowning at the hardships that you have shared. Pray like God is shaking the divine head or weeping upon hearing of the pain and loss you have suffered. Prayer is proof that God wants us to feel heard. So, pray like God is listening because God is listening and doesn’t miss a word.

Reverend Starlette Thomas* is the interim pastor at Village Baptist Church in Bowie, Maryland and the Minister to Empower Congregations at the D.C. Baptist Convention. She writes on the social construct of race and the practice of faith at www.racelessgospel.com. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and Starbucks.
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