This Advent season, as we celebrate the coming of King Jesus, I encourage you to do one thing…
Talk with God.
Really talk with Him. Talk to the One who sent His Son for you. Put aside your to-do lists (and even your “prayer lists”) and just talk with Him.
Praying through a list is a great practice; it helps us be persistent and organized in prayer. However, at least for me, when I stare at a list of prayer requests to bring before God I end up feeling more distant from Him. Our relationship seems to become contingent on whether or not he “answers.”
So when I say, “talk with God” think about what it means to converse with someone. They share a little; you respond. They ask a question; you consider it, ask for clarification, then reply. Then you interject with your own question, and on and on. Real, authentic talking.
My prayer life changed when I learned how to do this, how to really talk with God like a Father.
Pray the Bible.
Using God’s own words to engage in a real conversation with Him has been one of the sweetest, most life-transforming practices I’ve learned.
I’ll let the man I learned it from – Donald Whitney – explain the simple method:
"I read, 'How precious is your steadfast love, O God!' (Ps 36:7), and spoke King David’s exact words as my own prayer, immediately adding other thoughts prompted by David’s exclamation.
After I’d said all that came to mind from verse 7, I read verse 8: 'They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them to drink of the river of your delights.'
'Yes, Lord!' I prayed, 'Let me feast on the abundance of your house; let me drink of the river of your delights. Feed my soul with your goodness. Satisfy my thirsty heart with your delights. Let me be immersed in the vast, deep, incomparable river of knowing you.'
I simply spoke to the Lord those things prompted verse-by-verse in my reading of the psalm. If a verse didn’t suggest anything to pray, I would go to the next verse. On and on through the psalm, praying as prompted by the things I read, I continued until I ran out of time."
Simple. It almost seems too good to be true, doesn’t it, to be able to have a real, honest conversation with God? Really hearing from Him, and really responding to Him.
But if our Heavenly Father desires for all of His children to come before His throne of grace in prayer – and He does – it must be simple. God isn’t in the business of hiding Himself from His children.
So, again I encourage you with one thing this Advent season. As you break from school and the responsibilities wane, and the schedule loosens, take the opportunity to spend extended time talking with God.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are my two suggestions:
- The Psalms – after all, this book is commonly referred to as “the prayer book of the Bible.” These passages are rich with fuel for conversations with God. This is probably the easiest place to start, as many of the psalms are prayers themselves.
- The Gospels – what better place to hear from and respond to God than through the words and works of His Son Jesus. Spend the advent season talking with God about the life and promises of Jesus.
Open the Bible, read it, and pause at each verse and turn it into a prayer. Get to know God this Christmas. Talk with the One whose Word became flesh in the man Jesus Christ.