“First we talk at God, then to God, then we listen, then we seek God in everyday life.” – Unknown, I heard it on one of my CD’s from my Christian Spirituality course. I think this statement explains the maturity of prayer in a very simplistic but realistic way.
As a child I talked at God. I didn’t expect any type of response. It was just me looking up to the sky yelling, singing, talking, and half wondering if God could hear me that high up in the atmosphere. Then as I grew up a little and started to have a new understanding of God I knew that I should talk to him like he was my friend. I was to tell him all of my hopes dreams, fears, concerns, problems, wishes, and ideas. I confided in God, my deepest, most intimate thoughts.
I continued to grow up not just in my age but in my maturity and faith life and I started to understand that the talks I had with God need to be a conversation. I was actually supposed to listen to God’s response to my thoughts and questions for him. So, I tried to listen but I never had the patience to listen for very long.
However, I never stopped talking, I continued the relationship, the praise, the love, the one sided conversation. I grew deeper in my faith through reading, joining committees at church, taking scripture classes, learning more about spirituality and trying to listen to God.
As I journeyed this new found path seeking God, I found myself on retreat. After the retreat the Holy Spirit moved me to write daily about God which led me to led retreats, give motivational talks, and continue to search for God’s path for me. That same path directed me to teach (I would have never thought I would be a teacher). In order to be a teacher I need to earn a Masters’ Degree in Theology (I have been earning it for over 2 years now, I am half way there). These courses have educated me on the teachings of the church, a deeper spirituality and a realization that I seek God in everyday life.
So, I have been through all four stages; “First we talk at God, then to God, then we listen, then we seek God in everyday life.” I have not completed my prayer life. I have not prayed a perfect prayer. I have not heard the voice of God audibly, nor do I expect to in this life. All of this education has taught me that it never ends, and I don’t want this journey to end. I want to continuously grow closer to God. I want to someday come so close to God that I don’t know where I end and God begins.
Our prayer life should be a lifetime journey of depth, an intimate love for God that results in a constantly growing relationship with our creator, God our Abba, Jesus our savior, and the Holy Spirit who moves us in the direction of goodness all the days of our lives. We have to constantly change, renew, grow, mature and deepen this prayer life for a lifetime.