Talking With or Talking To

This morning my 8-year-old son did his Bible Study Fellowship homework.  One question asked what he could do today that would honor God.  When I first read his answer, I thought he had mis-written it.  In large print, he had scrawled, “pray with him.”

I briefly considered telling him he had written the wrong preposition.  Shouldn’t that “with” be a “to”?

But before I could correct him, the Holy Spirit corrected me.  Prayer is supposed to be a conversation, a combination of talking and listening.  Prayer is supposed to be talking with God, not talking at Him with my laundry list of requests.

Too often, though, I do pray to God, talk at Him, hurriedly reciting my lists of what I want or need or even hurriedly running down the list of things I’m thankful for, just so I can check that off my Things Good Christians Include In A Prayer index.

And I do this even though I know better.  I know that our God desires relationship.  A huge overarching theme in the Bible is that God wants to DWELL with us, live with us, fellowship with us.  I paid attention in college Bible courses; I know this.  Yet after all these years, I rush through prayers talking at God rather than with Him.

I don’t know what the other 8-year-olds will write on their BSF homework papers, but I’m thankful for my son’s large manuscript, “pray with him.”  Yes, I think sitting and talking with God would honor Him today.

Deuteronomy 4:7 — What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray?

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