5 Conversational Prayer
19 March: Conversational Prayer with Kevin Taylor
Summary awaiting edits (20/3)
David Taylor introduced tonight's speaker as the 2018 Lent Talks series drew to a close; Kevin Taylor introduced his talk by looking at what others understand by dialogue and conversation.
What is conversation? Responses included: 'two way process with neither dominating, two way conversation, continuous dialogue, communication between two people.'
Is God interested? Kevin thought that God is interested.
Is God interested in having a relationship with us? Kevin said he would offer some scriptures on that.
How do we know that God is interested in having a relationship with us? Because the Bible tells me so.
Kevin said that dictionary definitions of conversation were very inadequate and he had written his own: conversation is a two way communication between, at the very least, two individuals who take it in turns to talk and listen expressing their thoughts and emotions as well as news, ideas and suggestions, responding accordingly and appropriately to one other in the context of the communication.
Someone once said 'communication is the lifeblood of a relationship'. Where there is no communication taking place we can deduce that there is no working relationship. In order for us to have a working relationship with God that is alive and vibrant, that communication, that conversational prayer needs to be taking place all the time.Smith Wigglesworth is purported to have said that he never prayed for more than 15 minutes and he never went without praying for more than 15 minutes. In other words, conversational prayer should be a lifestyle for all of us. God is interested in all of our lives and he knows our thoughts before we even think them ourselves but nevertheless he wants us to talk to him about our feelings and thoughts, about our day and how much we love him.
Kevin offered the example of someone in conversational prayer: 'Dear Lord, so far I think I've done all right. I haven't gossiped, haven't lost my temper, haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent which I thank you for. However, in a few minutes, Lord, I'm going to get out of bed and from then on, I'm going to need a lot more help.'
The Bible says offers these verses on conversational prayer and relationships: Genesis 1.1f we're told that there's God and the Spirit of God - which is reflected in John 1.1-5, where Jesus is the Word. Right at the beginning before the world even began, we have the triun God the Father, God the son and God the HS in relationship with himself.
In Genesis 1.26-31, God the Father is talking to God the Son and God the Holy Spirit at the time of the creation; in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3.1-13, as some have said lightheartedly, Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent and the serpent didn't have a leg to stand on... We can pull from this story that when the Lord God was walking in the garden and calling to Adam, it is likely or reasonable that that was a regular occurrence that they were having fellowship together, communication was happening. God was looking to have a relationship with Eve and Adam. He had so much love in his heart for the world, his creation and those that dwell therein. It's why he longed to meet with them and gave them free will to obey and live within the parameters of what He had said or whether they chose not to - and here, Adam was culpable by association.
When this happened, this is when sin came into the world- that is simply disobedience to what God has said and their relationship with God was broken. The consequences of their action was that they were banished (v21) from the Garden of Eden and the only atonement for sin had to be made through animal sacrifices. In the New Testament Jesus became the once and for all sacrifice and after that there was no more need for animal sacrifices.
In Matthew 1.18-25, we read of the promise of the Messiah, saving his people from their sins and making it possible once again for human beings such as you and I, to be in relationship with with him through the cross of Christ. Where it all went badly wrong for Adam & Eve, it is now possible through Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection on the third day to have our sins forgiven and have that relationship that God had planned for Adam & Eve. That's for whoever comes to him in faith and having that born again experience and coming into that relationship with God. God puts his master plan into action defeating Satan who thought that he had won when Jesus was crucified but he didn't have any knowledge that Jesus was going yo rise from the dead and be seated at his Father side.
God made it possible; as John 3.16 says, 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish but have eternal life'. That word believe is much stronger than the English word; it's about putting their entire confidence and trust in the cross of Christ and embrace Jesus as their Saviour and Lord - those are the ones who come to him in repentance who will receive eternal life, those are the ones who will come into relationship with God, through the cross of Christ.
What can we learn from today?
1 Good is relational
2 God wants to have an individual relationship with all those who become his children - and it's not God's will that any should perish, but that all should come to know him
3 In the context of that relationship God wants regular communication to take place which we are calling tonight conversational prayer
In James 4.8, we read the exhortation to draw near to God and he will draw near to you. The emphasis in this scripture is on the individual taking the initiative by drawing near to God - but God says there that when we draw near to him, he will draw near to us. God doesn't force anyone to draw near to him but he promised to draw near when we draw near to him; he doesn't force anyone to talk to him but he's looking for it, longing for it.
Kevin read the inspirational story on prayer, starting 'As you got up this morning ...' which concludes 'I love you so much that I wait everyday for a nod, prayer or thought or a thankful part of your heart. It is hard to have a one-sided conversation.'
Kevin invited those present to take five minutes to thank God and closed with a prayer of thanks that we have the opportunity for a personal relationship with God our Father through Jesus death on the cross.
The song Have I told you lately that I love you (YouTube, Rod Stewart) was played.