“Be still, and know that I am God;” Psalm 46:10 NIV
My friend and fellow faith family member at Cornerstone Community Church (a.k.a. the coolest Southern Baptist church in Winthrop, Maine) has a blog Being A Mom is Tough that is worth you checking out and following, particularly if you’re a parent. A few days ago Michelle posted a great bit about her kids whining and how that reminded her of how we often talk to our heavenly father that has had me thinking the last few days. Michelle makes a great point when she says “…….Thinking of that though, do we whine to God? Do we try to make bargains with Him? “Are you kidding me Lord?” “If you just do this one thing for me, then I will never ask for anything again.”
OUCH – that is so true. Far too often our prayers are not conversations with God, they are whinny and demanding bargaining sessions where we act like we are working out the finer points of some quid pro quo with God where if he will suddenly meet our latest whim we will do something in return. Or, if we are not demanding from God, we come with a last minute desperation prayer as if our sudden burst of spiritual sincerity will somehow win us extra style points. I once heard a comedian talk about prayer and that there were two types of it, King James prayers that are stiff and formal and the fall on your knees in just inside the door screaming “Please God Do This”. Neither are accurate forms of prayer for us.
Prayer is an ongoing conversation with God, friend-to-friend, where we don’t need to beg or plead nor do we need to be formal as if we are asking the boss for a raise. God wants us to come into his presence with reverence yes, but we can drop the pretending and formal posturing, and just be ourselves. God already see’s our hearts and loves us anyway so why not open them up for him and tell him what’s not only on our minds but what’s going on in our lives? Hopes, dreams, fears (that’s a big one), and challenges we are facing. Talk to God as you would your best friend sitting for coffee. Sometimes just as with real conversations there are periods of silence, I’m very comfortable with that idea, being still and silent before God. The Quakers have a form of worship built around sitting and waiting – it’s not a bad idea to do sometimes. The Bible tells us in Psalm 46:10 “be still, and know that I am God;” NIV. The term “be still” comes from the Hebrew term raphah. Raphah has various meanings depending on usage and context but often it is used to mean “that which is slack, or to let drop”. So one could read Psalm 46:10 as “drop what you’re doing and sit still and know that I am God” (my paraphrase).
Far too often we rush our time with God, both in prayer and in reading his word. We fit it in around other stuff or multi-task combining prayer with other tasks like driving or other life tasks. Sometimes we just need to unplug and sit down and give God our undivided attention – be still, literally and figuratively. Earlier in Psalm 46 we are reminded that “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, through the mountains shake in the heart of the sea: though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult….. The Lord of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge”. (Psalm 46: 2-3 and 7 New Revised Standard) No matter what is going on in our lives and how crazy they seem or what we may be facing “therefore we will not fear”. Nothing you are facing is too great for God to handle.
Let God clear our minds and hearts and speak to us. You might be surprised what will suddenly be placed on your mind and your heart, a particular verse, a desire to pray for someone, a need to get in contact with someone or do something to show others God’s love, a call to action. You never know what might be placed on you as a result of just being quiet and letting God do the talking.
Find some time today and just be still before God. No agenda or rules, just get alone and get quiet and let God do the talking, you might be amazed at the great conversation that begins to take place.