Several years ago, a preacher told people he talked with God and that God talked with him. The papers carried that statement, as well as a few in the TV media. This preacher was criticized for his remarks that God would talk with him. I have the feeling some of you may feel the same way.
I would even agree that, in some cases, what God may have said to some preachers and/or people who were spokespersons for him might not have had the right ears open.
At the same time, some people have heard God when it comes to making moral decisions, faith journeys, and preaching, writing, and sharing God’s word for the moment. I have seen and heard God’s word to his people many times as they were obedient. God’s revelation to these people changed their lives.
So how does someone like you and me talk to God and hear him in return?
It starts in your heart. I do not mean the pumping organ in your chest that sends the blood through your body. There is, in each one of us, a place where making decisions of right and wrong takes place. A place we could call the “control room” of your life.
Here is where either you talk to God about your life or you decide to talk to no one, and do what you want with your life. Certainly there are a lot of voices that influence us, but we ultimately make our own decisions about how we live, how we speak, and how we think.
You see, when we need help in our life to make an important, life changing decision, we usually ask for some input or we just do what we think is right for us. If things are really bad and we can’t find help or we realize we need help beyond what parents, friends, or family can give us, we turn to God. That’s when we pray. Have you heard or prayed this prayer? “God if you’re there, I need your help. If you do, I’ll believe in you and start going to church.” If he’s the last one we turn to, it says a lot about our relationship with him —we haven’t had one.
Next time we’ll talk about this relationship God wants to have with us and how you can pray to and with God. In the meantime, if you want to talk to God he’s ready to hear from you — start praying today!
The Rev. Scott K. Van Bibber is the pastor of New Hope Church of the Nazarene. Sermon notes is a column by local religious leaders.