Talking to my young adult children on a regular basis can be a challenge. One of my sons lives 3,000 miles to the east. His twin brother lives 3,000 miles to the west. The son to the east is five hours ahead. The son to the west is three hours behind. As I get up in the morning, one son is having lunch, the other is still snoozing in bed. If you’re wondering, they live in the UK and LA while we are on the east coast of America. Talking to each of them takes time and work.
It can get to the end of the day and I realize I haven’t talked to my son in the UK, not just on that day, but for a few days. Other times, by the evening I realize my other son is just getting home from work and could talk, but I’m tired and about to go to bed. Then I have those mixed feelings of disappointment because I want to hear their voices, or guilt that I haven’t made the time or more effort. There are less important things that have filled my day and kept me distracted.
Doesn’t this sound like our conversations with God? We can crawl into bed after an exhausting day and then we think “I didn’t find time to pray today!”
Yet, other times we do have time to pray. And there are days I do have time to talk to my sons.
Often at the weekends my husband and I, and our daughter who has moved from LA and is living with us, get on a video call usually with one son and then the other, but sometimes at the same time. I love seeing their faces.
Sometimes the video call can go for an hour. We don’t sit in front of the camera for all that time. Often we’re doing other things at the same time. Max can be cooking his lunch. I can be cleaning the kitchen. I can pop off camera for a minute to put something in the fridge. Sometimes I’m staring at Max’s ceiling as he moves his phone (with the camera) around. Other times, we don’t even talk. We’re each doing our own thing but it’s comforting to know the other person is there.
Our prayers are like any other good conversations
And, I feel our relationship with God is just the same. Sometimes, we don’t need to be talking intensively with him, but we know he is there with us. God’s comforting presence is always with us.
Other times, we have focused conversations. My husband and I had one of those calls just the other day. We set a specific time to talk with George. He’s thinking about changing his job and wanted advice. We were happy he had come to us and were willing to help in whatever way we could.
There are times when our prayer is intense. We need God’s help and we know his guidance is good.
Yet, there are also the prayers that we make throughout the day. These are often one word or one lines. A “thank you” here, a “be with me” there. Someone says something, and we know it’s God speaking to us. We read a Bible verse on Facebook or Instagram and it jumps off the page for us, at just the right moment.
My family uses the Telegram messaging app. Short, little comments go on throughout the day and it reminds me that this is what praying continually is like.
The thing is, as a parent, I am just grateful for all these different ways we can communicate. They are all good. And, if my son tells me he’s just too tired to talk right now, or he’s out with friends, I understand. I like to think that our heavenly Father is the same. He is compassionate, loving, and gracious towards his children, to you and me—he understands.
There are many varied ways in which we can talk to God. How does this help you in understanding and feeling comfortable about your prayer life?