Ever eat bland tasteless food? Me too.
Ever feel like your praying is stale, boring and lifeless? Me too.
Imagine the best mouth-watering meal you ever ate. Your taste buds come alive. You savor every bite. You feel full and satisfied, don’t you? Yum.
It was lip-smacking good, wasn’t it?
I bet you ate what was good and enjoyed the best foods.
Conversational Prayer is a feast for your soul.
Like eating a delicious meal, communing with God is a feast for your soul.
God even says so.
Is. 55:2 “I don’t understand why you spend your money for things that don’t nourish or work so hard for what leaves you empty. Attend to Me and eat what is good; enjoy the richest, most delectable of things.
Listen closely, and come even closer. My words will give life,”
This invitation is to you. God longs for you to come closer to listen because His words will give you life and feed your soul.
God’s intention is to speak rich and delectable things to you.
Some people have trouble believing God speaks today, let alone He speaks in ways we can hear. But God is relational.
I struggled for many years, not knowing how to hear his voice. I didn’t know where to start or how to start the conversational prayer lifestyle.
I needed to change my diet of bland tasteless praying to eating the words God gave me. To my surprise, when I attended to Him and ate what was good; I enjoyed the richest, most tasty of things.
Do you find it hard to get started with conversational prayer? Ever wished you could see life from God’s perspective? Do you desire for your life of prayer to be more life-giving?
Here’s how you can start today with a two-way conversation that you only dreamed about. As you experience communion with your heavenly Father it’s like a feast for your soul.
A mouth-watering meal enriches your body, but connecting with God enriches your soul. Conversational prayer improves the time you spend with the Father.
4 Aspects or ways that help your conversational prayer be more life-giving:
- Discern and
1. Focusing – the first aspect of conversational prayer
I get scattered brained sometimes so the focus aspect helps me stay more focused.
It’s important because we live in an age of distraction, don’t we? Here’s an activity I still use today to help me focus. You don’t want your thoughts running away like a runaway train.
Believe me, this exercise seems simple but is a great solution to runaway thoughts.
A FOCUS PRACTICE to help you perk up your spiritual taste buds.
Use Psalm 27:4-8 to start with. It’s David’s poetic praise to God before he was anointed king. It’s loaded with images that come from David’s passion to be with God and to experience His presence on a daily basis.
Picture him in the desert somewhere with his sheep. Imagine what it would be like to live in the Temple 24/7.
Sit or pace
Eating a tasty dinner is done best by relaxing and enjoying every bite, isn’t it? God isn’t a crock pot God He’s more like a slow cooker. Smell the aroma when you lift the lid from your slow cooker. Yum.
But whether sitting or pacing find a quiet relaxing place. Next, bring back to mind an appreciation moment. (A memory that brings you joy, peace, or encouragement. It could be something spiritual but it doesn’t have to be).
A memory that has meaning for me is when I experienced the Nigra Falls for the first time. I was speechless and overwhelmed seeing the Falls, the scene is still vivid in my mind today.
Invite God to reveal Himself to you. Open your heart to His presence like a flower opens up to the bright rays of the sun.
Read the two verses from Psalm 27 below. Try to connect with the Psalmist as he longs to stay in the presence of God.
Note and write about any pictures, emotions or words that come to mind.
“Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else: I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house, finding the sweet loveliness of his face, filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. I want to live my life so close to him that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.
…’my inner being responded,’ “I’m seeking your face with all my heart.” (Psalm 27:4-8).
Like craving your favorite food David longed for God presence. Conversational prayer is desiring God’s presence like when you hunger after your best-loved food. May you live your life so close to Him that He takes pleasure in your every prayer too.
As you continue to cultivate your relationship skills with your heavenly Father:
- Scripture comes alive.
- You get to know God in relationship.
- You see life more from God’s perspective.
D. Takle shares a testimony about his experience with conversational prayer.
“His love for me has become more real, more tangible than I ever thought possible. As time goes on I find I am becoming more and more dependent on what He feeds me with, so when I miss a day or two I often feel as if I’m lanqishing, starving for what He alone gives.
Now I do not mean to imply that every day brings about wholesale transformation. While there truly are moments when His insights are so beautiful that it is as if someone turned on a light in the room.
Most of the time is more like a cool drink of water, a life-giving hug from God, or a breath of fresh air.
Sometimes we sit quietly together, so I can simply enjoy His presence around me, enfolding me in His love.
And yes, I do have seasons from time to time where seeing Him is difficult and hearing Him is hard. I feel homesick and separated from my life. As in any other relationship, my heart has its own reasons for holding back or running away.
But when I stop running and seek Him out, He is always closer than I imagined.”
Conversational prayer may feel overwhelming at first but it’s not as hard as it seems. Breaking it down into these four aspects helps you see the big picture. But starting with focusing is one small way you can start today.
Get started. Get focusing. It’ll make you feel like you’re coming even closer to your heavenly Father.
2. Listening – the Second aspect of conversational prayer.
When I started out with conversational prayer I didn’t know what people meant by listening to God’s voice. What did they mean? Did they mean listen for an audible voice? What kind of voice did they mean?
Frustration crept in and I almost gave up on this thing called conversational prayer. I saw it everywhere in Scripture where people heard God’s voice but I was taught God doesn’t speak to people anymore today because the Scripture is complete.
So I went directly to the Holy Spirit my personal teacher and mentor. Now I was getting somewhere.
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16).
If I’m His child, wouldn’t He want to speak to me?
What kind of Father would it be to have children but never speak to them?
I Cor. 2:13-14 reached out and captured my attention.
“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Sprit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishess to him, and he cannot undersatnd them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Spirit to spirit is the way God speaks to us
How does God speak to us? From the Scriptures above the right answer is Spirit to spirit. But what does that mean?
When I started asking the Holy Spirit questions about what He meant by Spirit to spirit, here is where it began to get interesting.
First, we looked at focusing now the Holy Spirit was teaching me what kind of listening He was talking about.
My next question to the Holy Spirit was, “How do I experience Spirit-to-spirit communication?
I’m dyslexic and a visual learner so I realized the Holy Spirit also uses spontaneous words that come into my mind, thoughts that are smarter than I am, impressions, and images.
Now I started getting excited. It was like the Holy Spirit was speaking my language. He speaks through these different ways but what was my part?
Our part in Listening
Noticing – inner reactions and responses. You begin to notice what’s in your heart and mind. Gut level honesty is critical. God’s not blown away about your inner thoughts and reactions.
Verbalizing – You begin to verbalize your thoughts and impressions.
Verbalizing begins by writing or speaking out what comes to mind. (This is conversational prayer).
Verbalizing gives substance to your impressions.
Verbalizing helps you focus and use all your mind in the process.
Searching for words to capture your impressions is part of conversational prayer. Impressions aren’t always clear at first. Just like any conversation you have, sometimes you need more clarification by asking questions. It’s a two-way process, isn’t it?
“Conversation with God can also be described as active spiritual reflection, with the expectation that God will speak to us.”
Why Listening to the Word is critical to conversational prayer
Letting the Holy Spirit teach us about life in the Kingdom is life-giving. He reveals the Word and our Heart at the same time.
Listening to the Word starts by Depending on the Holy Spirit’s meaning of the Scriptures instead of my human understanding. We can’t make the Scripture mean what we what it to mean.
Listening to the Word starts by Allowing the Spirit to reveal and apply His truth.
Listening to the Word starts by Focusing on short passages or phrases in the Bible.
Scripture approached this way lets the Spirit reveal to you what you need to see and hear.
Practical Tips on How to Listen to the Word
- Read – the passage slowly, several times. Don’t rush it.
- Notice – any impressions or reactions you have to a given word or phrase.
- Ask – God what He means by each word or phrase and ask Him to show you what you need.
- Receive – by reflecting, questioning, pondering, responding (flowing back and forth) like you’d do in any conversation with a friend.
Connecting and engaging with God has been used this way for centuries. You find people in the Bible connecting with God this way. Letting Him minister the Word to your heart is life-giving.
Conversational prayer is anything but passive
Psalm 139 is King David’s poetic song about how God knows him and loves him completely at the same time. No matter where he goes or how far he wanders away he can never get lost.
Example – Listening to God and the Word
- Take a minute or two to quiet and focus. Bring to mind an appreciation moment with God.
- Ask God to show you His heart about the Scripture below, and listen as you read.
- Allow a phrase or word to capture your attention. Let it fill your mind and imagination. Ask God to reveal what He wants you to see in the word or phrase.
- Write down feelings and impressions that come to mind.
It’s not how fast you can go, but knowing that God is with you and will join you in this process. It’s not a sprint but a leisurely walk with God like Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.
Psalm 139 (excerpts)
“Lord, you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.
You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength
It’s impossible to disappear from you or to ask the darkness to hide me, for your presence is everywhere, bringing light into my night.
You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!
God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through;
find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.
See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways—the path that brings me back to you.” The Passion Translation
Listening to the word is reading for transformation, not for information. Simply be with God, rest in the one of a kind, affectionate love that God has for you.
David’s testimony about conversational prayer.
David says, “I’m remembering today how I used to have a kind of love-hate experience in reading the Bible. I know it was supposed to be important – I even taught a class once on how much we needed to read the Bible.
But the truth was I would often go weeks at a time without picking one up. Sometimes I would have to dust it off before I opened it. Of course, I would feel ashamed of myself for having neglected the whole project and tell myself over and over I needed to read it more.
And for a time I would keep at it, only to drift away after a while, and then the whole cycle would repeat itself.
I never did understand why something so inherently valuable could be so dry and tasteless so much of the time. Honestly, reading the Bible usually felt more like doing homework than feeding my soul.
Then I heard about how to listen to the Word and how to be taught by the Spirit of God instead of trying to analyze the text on my own. The difference was amazing.
What life. What food for my soul. Words came alive and jumped off the page and penetrated my heart! Passages I had read a hundred times before rang true in my soul as if I had never heard them before.”
Today you can begin a two-way conversation that you only dreamed about.
Directly connecting with God can feed your soul, renew your mind, and transform your life.
4 Aspects or ways that help your conversational prayer be more life-giving is by:
- Discerning and
I’ve covered the focusing and listening aspects of conversational prayer here. Go to part two for Discerning and Responding.