I have three children, and as anyone who has more than one child knows, they are as different as night and day and ….outer space!
My firstborn talks. A lot. With enthusiasm.
My middle born is quiet. Watchful. Observant.
My last born is a spark plug, but finding words can be a challenge, this one would rather dance it out than speak.
And I love to talk to them all. In their own way. I enjoy sitting in silence waiting for my middle child to share. I am energized by the work it takes sometimes to verbally reach understanding with my last born. And I cherish the rushing river of words from my firstborn.
I do not look for a spokesperson. If one of them has something to say, to share, to ask, I want them to come directly to me and tell me, themselves. To have a spokesperson is to put distance between me and them.
Sometimes a third-party is necessary. I have watched a few episodes of this season’s Celebrity Apprentice. Marlee Matlin is participating in this go around. Marlee is deaf, and so she has an interpreter with her. It speeds up communication and helps with accuracy. But it also distances her from her fellow participants. Some of them, I have noticed, don’t look at Marlee when they are talking to her, they look at her interpreter. I wonder how she feels about that. Because the words are only part of the connection. The focus, the eye contact, body language, all play a part. I wonder if she ever wants to shout – look at me, talk to me!
I think that can happen when we pray. We look at the wrong person. Maybe we look at our pastor, or a friend. We want them to pray instead of us. Maybe we think they do it better. As though it was a performance.
Prayer. We’ve lost something with that word. We’ve turned it into something we “do”. Something that “works” or “doesn’t work”.
Prayer is simply talking. Talking to God. Yourself. In your own way. And it’s okay.
God is not deaf. He does not require a translator. He will not misunderstand you, because he understands you better than you understand yourself or anything else really.
I believe he wants to talk to you. Wants you to talk to him. I think the evidence for that is pretty clear.
Talk to him. And when you talk to him, look at him. Don’t talk at him. You know the difference. Think about the last time you were talked at. Don’t rely on others to do all the talking. You have things in your heart; things to say, to ask, to confess. He wants to hear those things from you.
So go for it. Stutter it out, shout it out, sing it out, use the King’s English or use slang. Act it out. Take your time. Sit in silence. Or verbally throw up all over him. This is what he wants.
Why am I so certain? Because God loved us enough to send his son so everyone who trusts his son has eternal life. And this is eternal life: To know God and Jesus, whom God sent. He sent his son so you could know him. The best way to begin to get to know him is by talking to him.
So go for it, you don’t need anyone else.