Many Christians, when they are asked by non-Christians; “Is Christianity not just another religion….?”, would then, of course, respond almost immediately with the popular and well-learned apophthegm ; “…Christianity is not a religion; it’s a Personal Relationship with God…”
Well, perhaps that would be true for some but, the question is; is that honestly true for the rest of Christendom? A personal relationship, just as it should be between a man and his wife, should be one of natural communication. It should never be a one-way monologue. If it was then surely that could never be deemed as a relationship, could it? I suppose, in some sense, that would be one of the reasons marriages do not last these days – among many other reasons like infidelity, abuse, and the list goes on and on.
Now, we are told that when we want to speak to God, then we go to Him in prayer, right? Again, the prayers of so many Christians are a practice that is made only at dinner time, bedtime, at a prayer meeting, or when there is trouble and the flare-gun-prayer is shot off into the sky, and so forth. But, is that really communication with God? Is our communication with God relegated to specific times (ingrained) because of tradition and habit – as if God listens only at those moments [of prayer]?
I think of David who spoke to God about anything and everything. He did not just leave it to “a prayer meeting” but, rather communicated with God all the time because he knew that God was always with him and he was always with God – even when he sinned. David knew how to communicate with God and not just “Pray” only at certain times but perpetually and fervently spoke to God continually – impassioned with a need to communicate with his Creator, God!
Yes, we are most definitely called to pray and, we are most definitely are called to do it together as Christians should be doing. But, if a genuine “Personal relationship with God Christian” is what we describe ourselves to be then surely, we are then meant to speak to God without having to close our eyes at specific times like we have been taught by the bidding of traditions. Imagine closing your eyes and praying while you are driving your car? That probably would be the last prayer you would ever be saying and, perhaps for the other person or people you have just driven over because your eyes were closed.
Our personal relationship with God is communing with Him all day long; speaking to Him and knowing that He will speak back to our heart, mind, and spirit. Listen to David’s communication with God and how naturally it pours out of his mouth. This is just one example out of so many other examples. There are just so many Psalms one could read and realise how David communicated with God.
I could have probably even have used Job as a good example as well, and it would be good to even go and read about his communication with God. Moreover, there are even many, many more characters in Scripture that I could have used, but I have Chosen just this one;
“Incline your ear, O Lord , and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Give ear, O Lord , to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O Lord , that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them. But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant. Show me a sign of your favour, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.”
Notice how naturally David is communicating with God. Yes, it is still called prayer but, it is not just at a specific time but all the time.
My question once again is this; and, by the way, it includes the writer as well – me. Are we really Christians who have a Personal Relationship with God and are speaking to Him continuously and pouring out our thoughts and hearts to Him vocally? Notice how David speaks to God. This is what I would want to encourage every “Personal-Relationship-with-God Christian” to do. Speaking to God should never be a monologue or a shopping list but, rather, “Deep crying out to Deep” and having our hearts and souls filled with His presence!
Lord, Jesus, give us hearts that are like David’s heart and a longing to be with You, speak with You, and glorify You!
Ps. Shane Bryant (OMIN CLC, BDiv)