The conversation was not initiated by me.
I didn’t even know He wanted to talk to me. I wasn’t concerned about Him at all. When I heard people talking to Him, I dismissed it as babbling. People would go on and on. Even though it was with great emotion and gusto, after a while it just became routine and ritual. Plus it was them talking to Him, apparently, but no sense of Him responding.
It was quite the amazing turnaround to discover that He really was interested in conversing with me. Not just issuing commands that needed to be followed. Genuinely conversing as though He was interested in me and what I had to say. Then as the I realised how seriously He wanted me to take the relationship, His written word came alive in a way that I had not previously appreciated.
There is a sense in which some of the best things are developed by duty before they become a delight. There is that element present in appreciating prayer. Yet there is something to truly acknowledging the wonder of the reality that prayer is part of a conversation initiated by God. He calls in different ways. He gets our attention and we realise that we are not called into drudgery and routine. We are called into a wondrous relationship – a relationship full of wonder and awe.
Whether we see Him on the Cross or in resurrected glory, whether He is walking along the path or reigning on high in Christ we have our perfect Example of what it is to appreciate prayer.
There’s a hymn that talks about going to a garden and it depicts a life of wonder walking and talking with Jesus and hearing Him express belonging and experiencing joy in those precious moments. That hymn clearly came from someone for whom prayer was not a chore and a ritual without reason. This was something reciprocal and intimate.
It starts by us acknowledging the opening He seeks to make in us to receive Him, to engage with Him. It’s from that basis that our relationship buds, blossoms and flourishes. It requires an opening though.
Seasons come along in the journey where you realise an opening is needed again. It’s good to appreciate again what can happen when we make the opening again in response to the call He offers to walk and talk.
Lord, make the change and let it start with me.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden