I get to lead a middle school girl’s small group from my church each week. Let me say, its never a dull hour. Middle school girls are full of drama, laughter, and they love to talk. They also ask honest questions. Sometimes they ask hard questions.
We recently spent some time talking about prayer. Their questions were open, and honest. We talked about making sure we leave time in the conversation for God to respond.
One girl asked, “How do I know its God talking to me and not just my own voice I hear?” That was a smart question. She’s twelve.
Another said, “Sometimes I fall asleep praying… or my mind wanders in the middle.” Yep. I wish I could have told her it gets better as you get older.
We talked about praying all the time. The Bible does say we are to pray without ceasing. This generation probably has more opportunity to understand this concept than any prior. Thanks to cell phones and texting they completely understand the concept of a running dialogue. They do it with their friends all day long… and sometimes, all night long! Too bad there’s no app for texting with God, but at least they understood the idea.
Hebrews 4:16 tells us that we can approach the throne of God with confidence. Verses 14 and 15 explain why. It’s because of Jesus. Because He sits at His Father’s right hand and intervenes on our behalf. He’s our big brother and He has our back.
I can remember a time when my older brother had my back with my parents. It shocked me that he went to bat for me like the way he did. I wanted to have permission to do something and they had said no. When he went to them on my behalf and explained the importance of why they should allow me to do whatever it was, they relented and allowed it. He was even willing to take responsibility for me in the activity.
Imagine Jesus as your big brother going to bat for you with the Father every day. Wow.
My kids don’t always have my full attention. Sometimes I have to multitask. Sometimes I am in a foul mood, and they steer clear of me until I unwind myself. (Smart kids) Sometimes I am still upset with them over something they did yesterday, and am unwilling to listen to their needs and wants.
Sometimes we tend to view God as we viewed our parents, but God is God and when we approach Him we always have His full attention. We don’t have to wait for God’s mood to settle first, we don’t have to wait on Him to get over something we’ve done previously. At any time, for any need, we can approach the throne of grace with confidence that we will have our needs met through His great mercy.
I encouraged my girl’s to start a prayer journal. I told them to start writing down the things they ask the Lord to do in their lives and in the lives of those they love. I told them to sit back and watch the ways that prayer will change their situations and how it will change them. How over time they will begin to hear God’s voice more clearly the more they spend time talking to Him. How they will no longer fall asleep talking to God leaving important things unsaid, if they are talking to Him throughout the day.
I know lots of folks struggle with prayer. They fear it has to be formal and full of flowery speech when in reality nothing could be farther from the truth. They feel as though they can’t bother God with the trivial things of life, and reserve talking to God during those desperate times. The problem with that thinking is, if you have been going to God all along, everyday, all day long, your relationship is different. It’s richer, closer, and more familiar. Talking with God becomes second nature, and not something you have to prepare a speech for. You understand that prayer is your first resort and not your last. Prayer comes before panic, before action, and it comes that way naturally.
When was the last time you talked to your Father? Whether its been five minutes or five months, He’d love to chat. Just pray already.