Many times, we think of prayer as a time we go before God to give Him praise and thanks, ask forgiveness, and ask for His blessings and help in times of need, as well as making intercession for others. We speak TO God! But prayer is a conversation WITH God. So why aren’t we listening at times?
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What is Prayer?
Yes, prayer is a conversation with God but what is conversation?
Conversation is defined as an exchange of information, news, ideas. An exchange, by definition, is the giving of one thing and receiving of another.
Prayer is supposed to be a time we come before God and engage in an exchange. We give Him our adoration, confession, thanks and supplication, but then we are to listen to hear what He has to speak to us in return.
“When Moses entered the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law. In this way the Lord spoke to him.” NIV
The Hebrew word for prayer used in the Old Testament is ‘tefillah’ and it signifies a union with God. It embodies worship, intercession and supplication but it also embodies communion. God not only listens to our prayers, but responds.
The verse above in Numbers indicates that God not only LISTENED to Moses, He SPOKE to Him from the Mercy Seat.
Prayer is a Conversation With God – So Why Aren’t We Listening?
Think about what a conversation with your spouse or your friend would be like if they just sat and talked to you for 30 minutes, poured out their heart to you, asked for help and guidance in a situation and then got up and walked away without allowing you to respond.
Maybe you had something significant to say to them that would help them, but they didn’t stop to hear what you had to say.
We often make prayer like a fast food drive thru where we give our “order” and then go on our way.
God doesn’t just want us to talk AT Him, He wants us to come before the Mercy Seat and speak WITH Him. Prayer is a conversation with God. We have an unbelievable privilege of speaking with the King of the Universe and hearing what He has to say.
But we often don’t listen.
Prayer is a Conversation with God Beyond the Veil of the Temple
The veil of the Temple once separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies and separated man from God.
When Jesus died on Calvary, the Bible says in Matthew 27:51:
“And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” ESV
When Jesus uttered the words “It is Finished“, in the Greek it is “tetelestai“, that veil that kept man from having direct access to God, that veil that required a mediator to pass through on our behalf, that veil that sin kept between us, was torn.
What Did the Temple Veil Look Like?
It was not only torn in two but it was torn in two from top to bottom. This veil, according to the specifications of Solomon’s Temple, was likely 30 feet high and about 4″ thick!
Often when we hear the word “veil” we think of something very thin and somewhat transparent. That was not the case here.
This was not something that could not be ripped with human hands, let alone from top to bottom.
God made sure that it was undeniably Him who tore the veil in two. He made sure it was known that Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross brought with it a redemption of mankind that now no longer separated us from God.
The veil represented sin and separation and the tearing of it represented sin’s defeat. Sin caused separation. Jesus restored relationship.
We now have access to approach the Mercy Seat directly and converse with God the way the High Priest only could once a year.
And yet we sometimes run in and out of the Holy of Holies with a quick petition and don’t engage in conversation.
Prayer is a Conversation With God – Be Still and Know
Psalm 46:10 says
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;” (NIV)
The King James says “Cease striving and know that I am God” because the original Hebrew says “Raphah”, which means “refrain, to be quiet, to let go” and “yada'” which means “to know, to be made known or become known.”
It basically can be translated to say “Refrain from making yourself known and let go and be quiet and know Me“
In other words, stop trying to make it always about you! Be quiet! Sit and hear what I have to say to YOU! Loosely translated into today’s language….It’s not all about you Boo!
Prayer is a Conversation With God – Seek Fellowship
We need to humble ourselves and go before Him and tell Him we don’t know WHAT to do about our situations but we are willing to just sit before Him in silence if need be and just wait for Him to speak into our lives.
We need to drop the flowery prayer and just tell it like it is! And we need to say sometimes “God, I really don’t know WHAT to say but I am just going to sit here before you right where I am and hear what you have to speak to me.”
Will you always hear something from Him right then and there? No. But when He knows you are open to hearing from Him, He WILL reveal answers to you in some way. It could be in a Scripture you read later, it could be through a word from a friend, or you may just hear from Him right then and there.
The important thing is He knows you are not just talking AT Him and you are open to receiving what He has to say.
Prayer is a conversation with God, not a monologue. Seek fellowship with Him and He will give that fellowship to you!
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Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™