Talking to God
(This page assumes that the reader is a Christian)
Approaching With Confidence
- “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”
As God’s children we have an open invitation to come to him at any time, however we feel – whether we’re in wonderful place or feeling low. He is a totally approachable Father, and he loves spending time with his kids.
- “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Our hearts can be all over the place sometimes. But we can know that at the very time we feel the most confused, weak and needy, we can run into God’s throne room and jump into his open arms – finding all the love, acceptance, mercy and “grace to help us” we need at that moment.
He will never turn us away.
Out In The Open
- “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”
(1 John 1:9)
The effect of Jesus’ death is to make us clean and righteous (right with God) forever. Before Jesus came, sins separated people from God, but not any more: we are covered by his blood, and as pure and perfect in God’s eyes as Jesus is.
- “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him”
But guilt over sin can make it hard for us to freely approach God. The thing to do is to bring it into the light and tell God about it: confess your sins and ask him to forgive you. We are already forgiven (righteous), but freshly receiving his forgiveness gives us a clean conscience and silences the Accuser – we are blameless and unaccusable because Jesus took our guilt away. Our sins are gone and forgotten! God has promised, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
Cares and Anxieties
- “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
(1 Peter 5:7)
Nothing is too unimportant for God to be interested in; we can tell him everything that is on our mind. In these two verses it talks about casting our cares and anxieties on God – like throwing them onto him. Maybe we need to “throw” them so the full weight is transferred onto his shoulders.
- “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”
God encourages us to bring anything and everything to him, because he wants us to have peace:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Matthew 6:25-34 for more about worry).
- “You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry”
Sometimes things get desperate, and a cry rises from deep in our hearts: “Help me God!” God is very attentive to the cry of his children.
- “He will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and needy and save the needy from death.”
But sometimes it may seem he does not hear. Circumstances might not change; an urgent need may stay unmet; the way forward remains blocked or unclear.
In such situations
Jesus encouraged us to keep on crying out to God:
The answer might not feel like it came “quickly”! But after persisting in prayer, the resistance (which may be demonic) does get overcome and the dam finally breaks.
- Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men.
And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don't fear God or care about men,
yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won‘t eventually wear me out with her coming!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.
And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?
I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.”
- “God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
God is rich! He basically owns everything. He is also generous: he enjoys giving things to his children, even more than an earthly parent does.
- “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Jesus pointed out that God “already knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8). So why does he want us to pray at all?
There are a few reasons. One is that he wants us to grow in faith and trust in him. Another is because he wants to do things together with his kids; he invites us to be part of what he is doing in the world. It is also a way of depending on God; Jesus prayed a lot when he was on earth, and depended on his Father completely. (Dependence on a human being can be unhealthy, but depending on God is what we were made for!).
Jesus gives another reason to pray: “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24). It’s pretty awesome seeing God answer your prayers!
- “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness”
A thankful heart really does something to you. It shifts your perspective, brings you hope, increases your joy and brings you in touch with God’s love and kindness towards you. It also melts away bitterness!
- “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Notice that it says to give thanks in all circumstances, not for all circumstances. Not everything that happens is directly caused by God; Jesus said to pray “May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10), so our circumstances aren’t always what God desires.
But we can still be grateful to God, whatever situation we find ourselves in. He is with us, taking care of us! He is always at work in our lives and the lives of those around us. And what’s more, none of the bad circumstances are wasted: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). God uses bad things to do amazingly good things; our trials are turned to gold.
Praise And Worship
- “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”
Praise is expressing gratitude and admiration to God.
Worship includes any kind of response to God: kneeling, dancing, singing, playing a musical instrument or lying on your face – or just enjoying his presence in your day.
- “They cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ ... They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!’ ”
A related concept is adoration – gazing on God and his beauty; dwelling on how lovely he is. King David wrote:
“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).
In the New Testament we are urged to “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). Something amazing happens when we do that: we are changed to be more like the one we are looking at:
Worship is connecting with God. He touches us as we reach out in our hearts to him, bringing healing, freedom and transformation. It is the way into God’s presence, the best place to be in the universe!
- “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect [or “behold”] the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.”
(2 Corinthians 3:18)
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