Published August 17, 2010
Any relationship ANY relationship is built on communication. That's true in marriages, that's true in friendships, that's true within families, that's true in business. (That's one reason why I like to communicate each week with you through this newsletter.)
A recent Barna study found that 67 percent of American adults say they have a "personal relationship" with Jesus Christ a relationship that is currently active and which influences their life. (Self-described conservatives come in at 79 percent while less than half of liberals, 48 percent, profess a personal relationship with Christ.)
Is this personal relationship with Christ built on communication? Communication is a two-way matter you speak to someone else and that person speaks to you. In this case, we communicate with God through prayer. God speaks to us primarily through His Word, the Bible. But the Barna study found some very interesting anecdotal evidence that God speaks in a variety of ways:
- 52 percent said God speaks by influencing or connecting directly with their mind, emotions or feelings.
- 41 percent said God speaks through the content of a Bible passage they read or which was read to them.
- 36 percent said God speaks by providing a sign.
- 34 percent said God speaks through miraculous or inexplicable circumstances or outcomes.
- 31 percent said God speaks through words spoken to them by someone else who was speaking for God.
- 18 percent said God speaks through a passage they read in a book other than the Bible.
- 16 percent said God speaks through an audible whisper that they could hear.
Can you identify with any, or most, or even all of those circumstances? It probably wouldn't take much reflection to come up with examples of how God worked in your life through one or several of those means. And, in fact, it's good to think about such things and to thank God for it!
We all want a better relationship with Christ. That's what being a Christian is all about. And regular prayer is an absolutely essential part of this. God can speak to you at any time, of course, but He much prefers a dialogue rather than a monologue. He would rather speak with you than simply to you.
And, quite often, when God speaks, He does it in a most unexpected way. We often think of how God speaks through songwriters, through the words of their songs. And we know He does. But Squire Parsons told me one time that God had given him a lot of songs that will never see the light of day because they were simply message from God for him, and only for him. God's words to us are very personal. After all, He knows you better than you know yourself, and He knows exactly what you need. (Matthew 6:8.)
Not long ago, Shelia was speaking with another artist whose name you would probably know. His wife left him last year (she married someone else a short time later) and our friend was devastated, and is still struggling.
But one night while he was crying out to God in prayer to help him though this situation, he begged God to speak to him to help him, to tell him what to do, to comfort him. And he was startled by what happened next. It was as if someone said, "Shhhhhhh!"
"What? Lord, what was that?"
This friend of ours listened. And then he heard it. There in the background, somewhere in the house, a radio was playing. And on the radio was a song of encouragement. He was familiar with the song he wrote it. And he had recorded it years ago. But, amazingly, its message was exactly what he needed to hear at this very time in his life. God had inspired him to write down words years ago that God could now use to minister to him! Isn't God amazing?!
Psalms 46:10 reminds us, "Be still, and know that I am God..." Spending time in prayer is when we can be still and best pay attention to what God wants to say to us. After all, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1).
Does God speak to us today? Absolutely! Does He want to speak to us? There is no doubt. But we need to open the door through prayer and then...
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