The God Who Speaks

In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.
–Mark 1:35

Have you heard the story about the newly promoted colonel? He was settling into his makeshift office when he saw a private heading his direction. Wanting to look busier than he was, the colonel picked up the telephone and pretended to be in a conversation: “Yes, General; I think that’s an excellent plan, sir. We’ll have to meet soon to discuss things in more detail. Thank you, General. Goodbye.” He hung up the phone and turned to the private. “What do you want?”

The private stammered, “Well, sir, I’ve been assigned to hook up your telephone.”

Most of us treat prayer as a one-way conversation. We talk to God as if there’s nobody on the other end of the line. But prayer is two-way communication: we speak to God, and God speaks to us. This week, we’re going to talk about how to listen to God and what He wants to say to us.

I’ll admit that over the years, I’ve had a lot of questions about prayer: If God has a sovereign plan for my life, then why should I bother to pray at all? Why does God take His time answering some of my prayers? Why did He answer that person’s prayer but not mine?

Yet all my questions and excuses melt away when I look at the example of Jesus Christ. Mark 1 recounts the busiest recorded day in Jesus’s ministry. He spent the entire day teaching, casting out demons, and meeting with people individually. He crawled into bed very late that night. But notice what happened the next day: “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there” (v. 35).

Jesus could’ve come up with a lot of reasons to hit the snooze button that morning. He could’ve said, “Father, I know this is the time I usually meet with You, but I had a busy day working for You yesterday. Surely You want Me to catch up on My sleep.” But for Jesus, prayer wasn’t a nicety; it was a necessity. You see, Jesus didn’t pray only when His back was up against the wall. Isn’t that what we do? We pray when a crisis comes. But Jesus prayed at all times. And if prayer was essential for the perfect Son of God, how much more important is it for us? Jesus was sold out to prayer not only so He could speak to God but also so He could listen to God.

***

Today’s devotion is adapted from “The God Who Speaks” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Story adapted from Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg, Becoming a Contagious Christian (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 57.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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