Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Dad wants to talk to you

One of the most exciting things about childhood development is realizing your baby has started to communicate with you. You might imitate the baby noises and babble back and forth, but if that is the only communication the baby hears, will the child ever learn to speak? So you try to get them to say “ma-ma” and “da-da”…and that first day when they actually repeat it, the parent/child bond is strengthened in a thrilling way. What if someone else taught them a different language, how could you even begin to communicate with them? Through the years, the more you talk to the child, the more they acquire your mannerisms, your vocabulary and your speech patterns. It’s a sweet fellowship between parent and child.

When we became Christians, we became God’s children—his sons and daughters. We already know how to babble, some of us can do that all day long! Prayer is conversation with God. Conversations are supposed to be two-sided. One person talks, and the other listens. After a bit, you switch places. It’s a give and take deal. How can we interact with God? Do I expect you to cup your ear and listen for an audible voice when it thunders? (Matthew 17:5 ) Do I think you should check your yard for any burning bushes (Exodus 3:1-6) or talking donkeys? (Numbers 22:22-28) How can we hear His voice?

God gave us a book full of His words, the Bible. It’s like reading a letter from a far away love. In those pages He tells you all about the plans He’s had for you since the beginning of time. (Psalms 139:13-16) He longs for a sacred romance or tender fellowship with His creation. How often do we make time to sit and read His word? In the time it has taken to read this blog, you could’ve read a few paragraphs in your Bible—and get to know your Creator, your heavenly Father. He wants to have a conversation with you. Did you realize you were created for fellowship with Him? Don’t have a Bible yet? Check out this website:

How is your conversation with God? Is it still excerpts of short rhymes you learned when you were small, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” Is it a honey-do list of things you want done, fixed or resolved? Or does it sound more like a last resort, a 911 call to heaven? What if you don’t have words because of the weight of grief or loss? What if you are so angry, you just want to shake your fist at the sky?

Check out some of the Psalms, those are prayers in themselves. Some are pure praise, some are laments or 911’s. They can prime that dry pump of yours. Don’t know how to pray? Jesus gave us explicit instructions on how to pray in the Bible. (Matthew 6:9-13 ) Speak some of His words back to Him. Just like you are thrilled to hear your child speak to you in words you’ve taught them, God is thrilled to hear you call on Him and interact.

Before reading a passage, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the meaning to you. Then, read it once to familiarize yourself, read it twice to understand the context and meaning, read it a third time to hear His emphasis and hear that “voice”. Then, take the scripture that spoke to you and reword it, personalize it and speak it in prayer back to God. When my teenager repeats something his Dad said while in conversation with others, that tells me he learned it and has claimed it as his own information. Praying scripture is telling your heavenly Dad that you believe what He said and you will apply it to your life.

Beware that the enemy loves to try and feed us the wrong words. He is known as the accuser, and will come around trying to accuse us of being stupid, too busy, or it’s not worth the effort. He is known as the father of lies, and he’ll take scripture and twist it around so badly that the original truth is lost. So keep your Bible handy to make sure what you thought the Bible said is true. He’ll whisper trashy words to use when we’re angry, sad or just in a bad mood. One good thing to know is that he cannot read our minds and he cannot be everywhere. (1 Peter 5:8) Only God knows our hearts and is all around us. We need to replace that programming with God’s word and truth—a “reformatting” of the brain, if you will.

Just how effective do you think praying His word will be? Think about it. If God spoke the world into existence and Jesus healed with a word, can you imagine the impact this will make on your relationship with God?

So here’s your first word to learn, it’s abba. (Galatians 4:6) One of God’s names is not just Lord of Lords or King of Kings, but Abba. Translated, it means “father” or even better, it includes warm affection, closer to “dad”. (Actually, it’s pretty close to da-da, wouldn’t you say?) This expectant Father has been waiting a very long time to hear His children speak to Him. So what will you say? Will you try to speak in a language that you’ve learned from the t.v., well-meaning family, co-workers or the latest religious book? Or will you take the time, read His book, get used to His voice and have a real conversation every day? And then, when it’s His turn to speak, will you listen?

'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
Revelation 3:20