It is so easy to fall into the trap of simply praying through my list as a monologue to the Lord. Similarly, I often read my Bible as a monologue from Him. I forget to pursue—or at the very least, don’t prioritize—a real, interactive relationship with God.
At the very foundation of a relationship is conversation. One speaks while the other listens and then responds.
It is the next volley, the third interchange, that I have found to be key for me to know I have been conversing with God as friend and not merely as an acquaintance. When I sit attentively and expectantly, long enough to hear His reply to my previous response, I know we have communicated relationally.
Here is an example of communicating relationally with God over His Word:
God Speaks. I read Psalm 139:15-18 (NLT): “You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!”
I respond. Lord, thank You that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that you have so many thoughts about me and to me. What are You thinking about me right now, or what do You want to say to me right now?
God replies with the following thought: “The joy of the Lord is your strength!” As I test the voice’s origin, I think: That is consistent with His character and Word. Could it be another voice? Not mine of late, not the enemy, not the world; who is left? God!
I respond: “Lord, thank You for responding to me. We have a problem, don’t we? I don’t have much joy! Why not?”
God speaks. I wait for an answer, as we see in Habakkuk 2:1, and I “hear:” “You are expecting to get joy from your ‘to do’ list being accomplished each day, and it never is.”
I respond: “Lord, forgive me for worshiping my ‘to do’ list, expecting it to give me what only You can.”
If I read the Bible as a textbook, I will get good information. If I read it as a conversation, I will get a relationship! As Debbie Friley of Navigators Encore says, “The Bible is the only book on the planet where you get to talk to the author while reading it.”
As a friend of God, how many volleys of conversation can you hold as you converse with your living and relational God?