Prayer Is ConversationNew Every Morning | July 1, 2018
THERE’S AN OLD JOKE that says when we tell people we talk to God, they think we’re pious; when we tell them God talks back, they think we’re crazy. Indeed, if we’re not used to thinking about prayer as a conversation, it can seem scary or even impious to dare think we’ve heard Jesus’ voice, much less dare to write down what we think we’ve heard. But, as the Bible tells us, conversing with God has been part of the human experience from the very beginning. In Genesis, the first words uttered to the human creature were the words of our Maker. And after naming the animals, the first words addressed by the human to anyone were addressed to God. Perhaps that first conversation didn’t end on the best terms, but later conversations with God weren’t always full of easy cordiality either. God’s particular people, Israel, receive their name from a man (originally named Jacob) who contends and wrestles with God. Moses, the great liberator of the people of God, converses with God and, at times, pleads with God on behalf of the Israelites. The Psalms attributed to David, the great king, which give voice to the full range of human emotion, are all addressed to God.
By the time Jesus arrives on the scene, his invitation to conversation is not exactly a radical innovation but a continuation of the traditions of God’s people. The church, in different ways and in different eras, has adopted structures for facilitating this conversation and drawing us back to it. Almost five hundred years ago, Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, recommended regular, honest conversation with God — a practice named colloquy — at the conclusion of a time of meditation on scripture. These days, Christians from many traditions engage in “listening prayer,” “conversational prayer,” or “dialogical prayer.” As they do so, they are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. The experiment we’re about to undertake aims at this ancient mystery. If we do sense a voice speaking back to us, addressing us in these questions, we’ve found more than a new personal spiritual practice; we’ve stumbled into the way of life of the people of God from around the world and across millennia.
– Matthew Croasmun
Let Me Ask You a Question
From pages 9–10 of Let Me Ask You a Question: Conversations with Jesus by Matthew Croasmun. Copyright © 2018 by Matthew Croasmun. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Do you agree that prayer is a conversation with God? How does God speak to you? Share your thoughts.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
Mark 5:34, NRSV
This Week: pray a prayer of praise every day this week. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.
Did You Know?
In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.
This week we remember: Irenaeus (June 28).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA
Yes, prayer is a conversation with God. I’m more aware of the speaking to God part than to hearing God. Twice i have felt God’s presence and many times I have come through tough experiences because I believe God helped me. I’m moved by music in church and it comes home with me. I am closer to God out in nature or in the garden.
Thankful for Sunday and communion. Had a wonderful day yesterday, drove twice through Smuggler’s Notch at the base of Mount Mansfield, was on roads I traveled long ago to visit my grandparents, in the town where I went to high school, inside for the first time, as best as I remember, the Central Vermont HQ, had a great St. Albans Museum visit, and a delicious shish kebab lunch.
All topped off by a Red Sox win in Yankee Stadium.
Erich and I are researching North Conway NH after driving through a couple times. Opportunity is seen there. Will see what happens. Need to visit in the winter as well.
A very rich and broad exchange of posts yesterday, thank you UR family. The Spirit was very busy at work and we all benefitted. Thank You, Lord.
Need to revisit yesterday’s posts before I pray for the UR family. There is so much going on. More later, blessings to you all on this the Lord’s Day.
Robert, I pray for a continued meaningful trip for you and Erich, passing on family history and making lifetime memories; and for things to come together for Erich in his work. Blessings.
Thank you Andrea, there have been more positive developments, inching forward, very hopefully soon there will be steps in the right direction. He is a big help here at home.
Robert, this time with Erich sounds absolutely marvelous. I am praising God for both quality and quantity of time you are together. You so deserve this, my friend! You remain, always, in my prayers! Sending Love and Light!
Forgot to mention Pearl! I don’t know what I’d do without Lucy, my sweet orange tabby. She needs to see the vet soon, and also has been “going” on the large vinyl tray her litter box sits on. I’m letting go and letting God! Hope Pearl hasn’t kept you up at night!
Thank you, Marcy. Pearl has slowed down a bit, I’m still up at early morning hours so doing things with her is not a problem. The heat has slowed her down and she plays less at night.
Need to make progress every day, it doesn’t matter if it is an inch, a foot, or yards. Hope to do more today.
Yes, prayer is conversation with God. I definitely do not pray without ceasing, but try to imagine what that would be like. I think maybe part of it is simply being aware of Him always and having that out-flow over our lives. An attitude of gratitude is likely part of it as well. I found the book “A Praying Life” thought provoking and encouraging. Prayer doesn’t have to be complicated, nor eloquent. But it does need to be honest – that is a bit of the difficulty with prayer, in some odd fashion. He Who knows me inside and out, far better than I know myself – and yet I struggle with being transparent. Surrender must be a big part of prayer with Him. Betsy – I am glad you have found this book readable and helpful.
Too hot yesterday for mom and I to do the art show. I stayed inside most of the day yesterday. Have had several headaches this week and one migraine, so just decided to stay cool, and did a lot of reading.
Will celebrate my sister’s birthday today at our parents. Her youngest son and his wife will be joining us. My sister wants her favorite pizza today and there will be cards and dominoes played. We will gather after church.
Jill, I pray the headaches cease for you; also, for a heartwarming afternoon with your family celebrating your sister’s birthday. Bless you.
Jill, I join with Andrea, in praying for your headaches and migraine to be kept at bay. I will check out “A Praying Life” and see if I can get it. So technologically challenged! I continue to keep you, your Mom, Gloria, your Dad, Larry, and your sister, Becky, in my prayers daily. (And Roger, too!) Happiest of birthdays to Becky today! May good times be had by all! Sending Love and Light!
Relief from the migraine headaches, happy birthday to Becky, prayers for all of you, Gloria, Larry, Becky, and you. Thankful all is going well with the 5th graders, You played golf with your Dad!
Having “eyes to see and ears to listen” helps to open me up to God speaking and nudging me. Often I feel my conversation with Him is one sided, but I know He often speaks through others in my life. Yes, Jill, the book “A Praying Life” is very insightful. Have just begun the section on prayer requests. I’m reading slowly, savoring his words! The honest prayer life exhibited here is inspiring and humbling. I’m so grateful for all of you who visit here and faithfully pray for one another.
Thankful for worship today and sharing communion at the Lord’s Table. It is so hot here , so hope to stay cool and rest this day.
Oh yes, Betsy! We are all so blessed by our Father to hold each other up in prayer! I praise God for His faithfulness and bringing us new days each morning. You and your family are in my prayers, extra prayers for Jim and Denise. Pray Grace is doing well. Sending Love and Light!
Prayers for you, Betsy, your sister, Grace, the church you attend, squabbles at my church too. Paul writes about squabbling churches and we still have them today, human nature needs a lot of help. Thankfully Christ is there.
My current circumstances have caused me to learn the practice of praying without ceasing. I have not slept in a month and so pray night and day. I am reluctant about whether I hear the Lord’s response or what I wish to hear.
My daughter is with her father today and I am alone and afraid. “He” is still here and I am so afraid of him.
Please know that I continue to pray for each and every one of you each day.
Any words of wisdom and prayers are greatly relished and appreciated.
Julie, I pray for you to get restful sleep. I pray for you to be safe and protected from the negative energy in your current circumstances. I visualize you putting on the armor of Christ, a radiant light that surrounds you and buffers you. I pray too for your husband, that his heart will be transformed. Blessings.
Dearest Julie, I have been lifting you up in the first of my intercessory prayers each morning, and you will stay in that spot as you pray to God, listening for His word. We are to lift those in most need when praying intercessory prayers, meditating solely on their needs. I will say, when I was in the deepest, darkest moments in “marriage,” I prayed even with “him” standing there, intimidating me and mocking God. I believe our Savior, Jesus Christ, was close by. Christ is the reason I’m alive and live today. You will overcome, Julie, as a child of God. You will be victorious as Christ carries you and sustains you, and He will bring you joy and happiness. Believe in Him, trust Him and continue to follow His guidance. I believe He will bring you together with a lawyer who will serve you well. Either that, or He will perform a miracle on the heart of your spouse. I am praying for you and your daughter each and every morning. Sending Love and Light!
Julie, the Lord knows your situation, the UR is praying for you, help is a phone call away. Prayers for a better lawyer and that this situation comes to a peaceful conclusion soon.
Yes, prayer is my conversation with God-sometimes I believe He is the only one who listens to me. I know He hears me because sometimes my simple prayer is answered in a mini-moment. Many people need prayer. We must be faithful in bringing their needs to Him.
Connie, I feel even if God is the only one listening to us, He’s by far the most important! Our Triune God knows us better than anyone else, even including ourselves! We listen to each other here in the UR Reflections family and that is so helpful, as we exchange the fruits of the Spirit. And we pray for requests spoken or unspoken for one another. Sending Love and Light!
Thank you and Amen and Amen!
You and your family remain, of course, in my prayers! Never forgotten in prayer, just forgot to write!
I too think there is only one prson who understands me fully, my Creator, God, Almighty. What a blessing it is to have someone like that in your life.
God’s peace and understanding is with you. Thank You, Lord.
Prayer is my best way to make decisions, for when I fully understand the direction God is showing me, and do it, the results are positive. On the other hand, when I ignore and do my own thing, the results are not.
When it is time for a change I have this uneasy feeling or something different that I just am “awaking to”. I think, “what is this?” and I begin to pray. Prayer helps me pin point what the problem is. Once that is identified, I lift it in prayer and begin to listen more closely for answers.
I am at a time when I need to make a decision for the future. I am recognizing the answers through a book I just read, “Resilient” by Rick Hanson, an in-service that told us we are living in a time of V-volatility; U-uncertainty; C-complexity; A-ambiguity along with solutions to help; a sermon from a guest speaker, the director of a college athletic dept and also a Christian, about the core principles they rely on to teach their young students; a comment by a fellow co-worker who pointed out how she feels another co-worker has aged 10 years in the 1 year she has been with us….I could go on, but I think you get the idea, God is sending answers in many forms and if I am listening, I begin to hear.
I am resting better at night although I still wake. I take that time to listen to God and lift my UR family to Him. Marcy and Julie, Connie and Jill, Betsy and Andrea, Mary and Lou, Robert and Rusty, Francesca and Gail, as well as all others in our family who I am just getting to know. May you feel a hug from God at that moment and know you are loved.
Blessings to all on this Sunday, another Day of the Lord…let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Thank you for your prayers, April. I pray you will get good rest and discern the decisions you need to make. Bless you.
Thank you Andrea and I pray God’s presence as you go forward.
Church was another answer to me as we sang the last song:
Lord, you have come to the lakeshore. looking neither for wealthy nor wise ones; you only asked me to follow humbly. O Lord, with your eyes you have searched me, and while smiling have spoken my name; now my boat’s left on the shoreline behind me; by your side I will seek other seas.
I will seek other seas…
Thank you, again, April. I am writing down the beautiful words to the song you sang in church this morning. Thank you, too, for sharing from the book, Resilience. It sounds very timely. God bless you.
Thank you, April, for sharing the driving force that brings you to prayerful conversations with God! God is calling, and you answer! Thank you for your witness! The book, “Resilient”, sounds thought provoking and I appreciate your bringing it to my attention. I will add your decision to be made, in my prayers for you. I also wake at night, and am able to fall back asleep praying on a variety of issues and for others. We are so blessed to be loved by God and each other. Sending Love and Light (and hugs)!
That you have that book and through it help, is a great blessing. God’s wisdom, we can always ask for it, will guide you in your decision. Thank You, Lord. Thank you for your prayers.
Praise God for rain and a cooler temperature outside today. I love the steady pitter-patter of the raindrops on the roof.
I believe at times I sense God’s direction when I feel a deep rightness about something, a kind of quiet “knowing” that I feel in my bones.
My daughter and I took a single-session class last week on dyeing fabric. It was a belated 40th birthday present to her. She enjoyed it and wants to do more. I will order the necessary supplies so we can do it at her house or mine whenever the spirit moves her.
I appreciate your support and prayers. I too have felt discouraged and down lately and somewhat anxious. Besides the tension I feel with my daughter, the news of the refugee children who are separated from their parents, with no efficient timetable for reunification, distresses me. The mean spiritedness in politics that is reported in the news every day is disheartening – what kind of example is this for our children? My husband and I saw the film about Mr. Roger’s last night. I highly recommend it. We need more people like him influencing our society positively,, spreading a message of love and caring for one another.
Prayers for UR friends. May you be strong, may you be relieved of pain, may your fears be allayed, may you be supported. May you know God’s nearness and reflect God’s love.
Andrea, it’s heartening to hear that you and your daughter enjoyed the single class you took together, dyeing fabric. I pray that this is God’s “inroad” for a relationship for your daughter and the Lord. He uses all kinds of unexpected paths, after all. I will also lift you up in prayer to our Father for the discouragement and anxiety you have been experiencing. I am also having issues, dreaming about the separated families and waking in tears of disillusionment. I am searching for my country, in my dreams, and cannot find it. And when I do, it is unrecognizable and I am shattered. I awake, heart racing, and feel called to DO something, but I don’t know what, but pray. I have to limit news coverage or I am overwhelmed. Praying for you and Lowell, Andrea, and your daughter and grandson every day. Mr. Rogers was way ahead of his time and we need him today more than ever! Loved him as a kid, too! Miss him, wish I could get out to movie, too many barriers for now.
Love your last paragraph: “May you be strong, may you be relieved of pain, may your fears be allayed, may you be supported. May you know God’s nearness and reflect God’s love.”
Lord, hear our prayers.
Sending Love and Light (and perseverance)!
Thank you, Marcy. I did not know too much about Mr. Roger’s before seeing the film. That good man devoted his life to listening to children with great empathy and love and instilling strength in them. His message to adults: we need to be mend-ers of the world. Being a sew-ist, that message resonates with me. Marcy, I strongly believe you ARE doing something with your mending prayers for UR friends and others. I pray you will gain strength and recover your health. God bless you, dear Marcy.
Steps taken in the right direction by both you and your daughter. Thank You, Lord. Similar activities her with my son. Healing takes time, slow steady progress, like a long gentle rain on a garden, does wonders. God guided patient persistence I pray for you and your daughter.
Amen and AMEN!
Loving UR Reflections siblings and friends, I had an experience today during Audio Lectio by the Upper Room, which was…..indescribable! The lectionary scripture was on Mark 5:24-30. The Holy Spirit connected me to Jesus Christ, up close and personal, in a new way. That’s the best I can do! I am full of gratitude to our Father in heaven.
I am grateful for the prayers from you all. Thanks be to God! God continues to lead me in my prayers for you. I am thankful for the Love we show to one another in multiple ways and encouraging words, as children of God, every one of us!
And these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love, and the greatest of these is LOVE!
A great and helpful scripture passage. The power of faith at work. It seems the devil has to and does work harder versus people of faith, his ways are threatened, we can shew him away wih one word, Jesus! that is truly amazing.
Thankful for your faith and the help Jesus gave you.
God’s peace is with you!
Had sore throat and running nose non stop. Still went to work. No choice.
Many students and staff sick
Grateful for new staff
I am praying for you to get well real soon, sweet sister Mary! Yes, over-working and being in contact with kids, sounds like the source. I do pray also for the new employees to get up to speed in a timely manner to help you lighten the load! I’m so sorry you can’t take the time off to heal, but please don’t overdo it!
Sending Love and Light and get well wishes!
Thank you dear Marcy!
You are an inspiration to me!
May your health be restored and all your needs be met!