3 min script
Well I did say I would try and tackle the subject of serious conversation in terms of prayer. I said last time we talked that prayer, i.e. conversation with God can be seen as fun, not just as… well we what do many people see it as? A chore? A pressure? A duty? What a shame, why isn’t it fun? Why isn’t it just normal life?
Before I tell you about that serious conversation, let me first tell you a story. A good friend of mine one day, in a sort of half-serious conversation asked me if I thought that God could or would tell jokes or make fun. I think he was a little unsure of my reaction, but I thought about it for a moment and then I said, ‘Well it seems to me that if God is our designer, and we can enjoy jokes, we have a sense of humour, then I guess God must also have a sense of humour as he invented us that way.’ I sensed he was relieved by my answer because then he said, ‘Would you like to hear a joke that God told me?’ I wasn’t sure what was coming next but I definitely wanted to know.
My friend told me that he was in a church meeting; he was there because he was taking part in the meeting, but he was not enjoying it. He was sitting by himself at the back of the hall and feeling really bored. He didn’t like it and he didn’t want to be there, and nothing that was being said seemed relevant to life. He thought to himself, this is so boring I bet God isn’t even here. Then he started to pray in a light-hearted way, and he said, ‘Father, I don’t like this meeting, it’s boring, it’s irrelevant and I don’t think you are even here.’ My friend said that it seemed God spoke to him and said, ‘Oh no son, you are wrong, I am here, omnipresence has its problem.’ My friend, sitting at the back of the meeting had put his hand over his mouth to stifle a chuckle, and he said he gave better attention to the people that were there in the meeting after that joke.
So onto that serious stuff, I work in a very busy office with lots of busy people, my wife also works with me, or rather we work together. Sometimes people give me messages for my wife when she is not in the office, and then they will say to me the next day, ‘Did you give your wife the message?’ And I will say, ‘Sorry, I haven’t had a chance to talk with her.’ They often frown at this comment and ask if I actually live with my wife, and if I do, do I actually talk to her. Well I do live with my wife and I do talk to her, but there is talking and then there is talking. My home, as well as my office is a very busy place, usually we share it with at least four or five other people, so exclusive conversation is not always easy. Both my wife and I understand this.
Sometimes I will say to my wife, Pauline, ’ we need to talk.’ Of course, I am talking to her in that very sentence, but Pauline understands what I mean when I say ‘we need to talk’ and she will respond by saying, ‘Okay, let’s go out for a coffee and a chat.’ Now that kind of talk is more in-depth, more serious, more constructive. It is usually a sharing of ideas, perhaps making plans, sometimes trying to solve some knotty problem or difficulties that we or others are facing. We use this exclusive time to air our thoughts and ideas in a more in-depth manner, this talking time goes beyond our surface conversations, they would not work at times like these.
I often take that approach with God; I find it is possible to talk to God in very general terms and to pray for all sorts of things. I like to think of it as the sort of conversation that goes on between friends all the time, and of course good friends don’t need to be talking all the time, that can be frustrating can’t it? Friends can just be together and not talk; there is even communication in silence.
So my communication approach to Father God is often the same as with my wife, or course we talk all the time at a certain level, but as you can see there are times when I say to her ‘we need to talk.’ And I also do that with Father God, I say ‘God we need to talk, I know you know where I am at, I know we have had conversations, but I need to talk seriously to you and I guess more importantly, I need to listen to you seriously, I need to understand what you want, think and expect from me right now, I need you to help me understand where this situation is going.’ That’s what I call the serious conversation, I guess that’s what we could call serious prayer, but it’s still talking to God and it’s still two-way, and actually sometimes, what God does say to us can be very surprising indeed, and that might throw us, particularly if we have a view on how God works with his friends, but that’s another subject, maybe for next time.
But the great thing about talking to God is he can share in the fun stuff and the serious stuff, we can talk to him on every level, and if we listen, he’ll respond to us in the same way.
Editor A Brookes