By Clifton Jones
The Lord is glad to hear the cry of His people, but now there is another form of prayer that centers around talking with the Lord with a honest heart. It is called dialogue.
The specific of dialogue is conversing or a conversation between two or more persons. What is dialogue then? A talking together. You see in a crying prayer, there is no talking going on, we just want Him to hurry up and push the right button. The crying doesn’t really build a truly wholesome relationship. Many have cried and God delivered them and they seem to forget who delivered them. This type of behavior started back in Genesis. And do you know when it will end? When He takes His church out of the earth. It took me a while to see this; but today it is much clearer.
We get to the point in reading the gospels and seeing all the miracles. We would say, “My God, if we had more miracles more folks would get saved; they might.” My question is, would they stay saved? You know the only thing I believe that will keep a person saved, is a desire for God’s presence, and a relationship with him.
The best defense against sin is a good relationship with the savior. It is the best defense!
What does a relationship with Christ do that keeps us from wanting to get involved in sin? It makes us sensitive toward His presence. When we recognize that we are in His presence it makes it very difficult to do something that we know breaks His heart. There are some things that we do but we would rather that those whom we greatly respect, would look the other way if we do it.
Our relationship with Jesus guarantees that our heart will desire the same things that His heart desires. Our defense is within us. Let us not use the excuse, “Someone made me sin.” If we say that, we’re also saying that we have a poor relationship with Jesus and that we didn’t have anything inside of us that would make us detest the things that the world, the flesh, and the Devil tempt me to do. All of that points back to our prayer closet, our time in the prayer closet is time in dialogue with Jesus.
“If we will talk with Him and give Him a chance to talk with us, He will reveal to us the things that are secretly in our lives, that are going to cause us trouble.”
While we are in prayer, what does God do? He illuminates His Word in our spirit and allows our spirit to detect some of the most minute things about ourselves, our attitude and our personality that we would other wise ignore and go on about our business. Being in His presence in prayer, the Lord is a gentle like spirit (I’m talking about in my case; in your case He may have to be harsh and holler at you and say, “You won’t please me if you continue in that way.” Now, it is no need to look around and see who He is talking to. I could be wrong, but I really believe that this element of prayer has driven a lot of believers from our prayer closets.
“When we get to talking with the Lord, we find out that He actually talks back.”
One who wants to be slick, and full of rubbish, praying isn’t for that person. Not real praying. Because in real praying you’re going to come face to face with some things that are very private. God will let our distasteful self pass right by our nose and let us have a fragrance of it. And then He will say to us, “It smells worst than that to Me.” You’ll say, “Oh God! I thank you because you didn’t cut me off.” Just when we thought we didn’t have anything to be thankful for, God let us smell self and said it smells worst than that to Him. Causing us to shout, “God I thank you!” Oh Lord! And then again that’s not enough.
Sometimes we’ll see someone take-off down the isle screaming. We don’t know what happened. They may have been sitting there whispering, dialoguing and communicating with the Lord. The Lord could say, “Now you know if you would yield yourself in this area, you could get the word in you better and I could use you better.” We hear someone holler and take off down the isle. But we say we didn’t hear anything, that’s because nobody was talking to us.
Sometimes we are so attached to ourselves, we want the Lord to do all there is to be done for us and to us. We know about our attitude problem; we know about our laziness; we know about the unfruitful company we keep; we know about all of the above. Yet we neglect to do on a consistent bases the things which we know will eliminate our problems.
“If the question was asked, How many of us have replaced our devotional time with other things? It would no doubt silence the majority of us.”
If we have ever questioned why so often our steps seems to be reverse rather than forward, we would have our answer. Our devotional life will testify for us or against us. And if our relationship with Jesus is not well, we will spend the rest of our earthly life fighting as it were, the wind, rather than the Devil. But when we use the Word of God in fighting the Devil we win. It is not enough for us to just come to church and let others do all the reading, praying, fasting, testifying, singing, dancing, etc. If we do we will spend the rest of our life on spiritual welfare. It is time for all believers to pray until the Lord get us off spiritual welfare. We need to know Jesus for ourselves.
The time has come when we need to find out what we have, not just go on what someone say we have.
“Life in a hostile environment will show the real person. When you get away from the church environment, the real person will surface. Our struggle is less difficult when we are surrounded by fellow believers.”
If we seem to lose that confidence after we disperse, that is a sign our relationship is not good with the Lord. We should desire a relationship with Jesus to the degree that we do not want to do anything that will hurt Him and our association with him.
I’m so glad that Jesus goes with me. I’m so glad that Jesus goes with you. I’m so glad that Jesus goes to the job. I’m so glad that Jesus goes down town. I’m so glad that Jesus goes over to the neighbor’s house. I’m so glad that Jesus knows how to listen on the telephone. I’m so glad that Jesus knows when the television is on and when it’s off. I’m so glad he knows the difference between two hours a week Bible reading and ten hours a week of television. Truthfully speaking, those things we know we like, we have to attack them, as though we hate them, in order to overcome them.
Things that give us trouble, if we just let them continue, will cause our spiritual demise. If we give the enemy an inch, he will take a mile. There is nothing more valuable to us than to stand on the word in our prayers. Then we will be standing on Scripture foundation. Let’s keep in our minds that dialogue with God means talking together.
When two persons are talking, it is not good for both of them to talk at the same time. When one talk the other should listen. Let me ask you this, do you actually believe that God can hear when you are talking? Do you believe he listens?
“Dialogue means, the interchange & discussion of ideas, especially when the persons are open and free.”
You see that?
“God is looking for open & sincere prayer.”
He’s not looking for any put on. We don’t have to try to disguise our voice so we can ease up on Him. There is no need in trying to make God think that it’s Moses talking. God knows that it is not Moses. There are many examples in the scripture where God actually talked in person to people.
- Judges 13: 3 “And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.”
Now for the benefit of those who did not know it, God is concerned about more than just our spirits or our souls, as most of us refer to it. He is concerned about us! When Hanna went to prayer because she did not have a son, she was so heavy she couldn’t even open her mouth. All she could do was move her lips. Somebody asked, “Is God in the child care business? Yes, He is in every kind of business that His children are in and what they have need of. Hanna wanted a boy-child bad, or shall I say it the Mississippi way, “She badly wanted a boy child.” And she got him! And we can read the fact that she got him. Now look at Judges 13:5:
- “For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarene unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
The scripture there says the angel or messenger, but that don’t hinder me from believing that, that was the Master. For He has always been known to appear in various forms. All right, verse 8, “Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, 0 my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.”
Between verses 5 and 8, there was dialogue between Manoah and his wife. She told him what the angel had told her and he wanted to be sure that she wasn’t just stretching the imagination.
“When God talks to people today, and they say, “You know, the Lord said to me;” those who are not on speaking terms with Him will look at you like you are crazy.”
They might agree with you, but down deep inside they no more believe it than if you told the that you saw a K-K-Klan member at a Black Muslim convention. And you know they are not going to believe that!
So Manoah entreated the Lord and said, “Lord, let the man of God come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. Now that you say we are going to have this child, send that man back and teach us how to take care of him.”
God hearkened to the voice of Manoah and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field; but Manoah’s husband was not with her. All he had to do was talk like he felt. And he felt like, I sure do need that angel to come back. So he said, Lord, send him back. You know the one that you sent the other day? Send him back. I want him to instruct us on how to take care of this child. He was just talking, and what did the Lord do? Sent him back.
In chapter 18 of Genesis, God said, “Shall I do this without showing it to my servant Abraham?” This was around verse 17, when he was getting ready to burn the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. He said, “Oh No, I’m not going to do it without telling him. Hey, Abraham, I’m getting ready to burn up Sodom and Gomorrah.” Abraham said, “That don’t sound like you, you mean you are going to intermingle the righteous folks with the sinner folks. You mean if there are fifty righteous folks you are going to burn up the whole town and you are not going to have anywhere to put the righteous? He told him, “If, I find fifty righteous I’ll spare it.”
You see, when ever we can get God to act, whether it be personal or in His Word, if we find a Scripture that’s in keeping with what we’re praying, that scripture is designed to heighten the level of our faith, to build our inner confidence.
The Lord has deep concern about us. Very seldom would a persons toe hurt and they say, “Lord, my toe is hurting me so bad, will you do something for my toe?” Do you know what they will do? They will come and get in the prayer line and ask the minister to pray for them. They feel so non-personal with the Lord that they figure, if I tell Him about my toe, He is not concerned. “As big as God is, how can he be concerned about my toe?” Listen, there is not a hair on our heads that is not numbered, and if He can keep up with hairs, I believe He is concerned about the other things too.
Before we push the wrong buttons, we need to ask Him for guidance. Is there anything in your life or in someone else’s life that bothers you enough that you’ll say something to them about it? Likewise we should talk to the Lord about the dark conditions we are beholding with our eyes daily. Lord, behold how these folks act? Just talk to Him, that’s all He asks. Don’t miss your blessing trying to dress it all up, fancy it all up and put a special flavor to it so He can swallow it.
Why did he leave Manoah and his wife on record who didn’t have a son, who prayed and got a son? Why would he leave them on record? Because he wants us to know that;
” God is concerned about all that we are concerned about.”
After we have studied, and test time comes, there is nothing wrong with saying, “Now Lord I want You to bless my mind. Help my mind. I want to do the best that I possibly can, so I thank You Lord.” Now you notice I said, ” After you have studied.”
I don’t want us to get the wrong idea. You see, it’s after we have studied. If we are praying tonight for that test we are going to take tomorrow. It’s after we have studied, we can get results. We need to keep in mind that the Lord is concerned about discussing everything with us. If it’s bothering you, let’s talk. Lord, why do You want to talk? Because if we don’t talk you are going to let burdens and confusion get so crowded in your mind, you won’t realize that I’m still there. If you don’t talk you’re going to let problems and difficulties, burdens, troubles, afflictions so press upon your mind. You won’t even know I’m in your house.
“Let’s talk! If we talk, it will keep the freshness and awareness of My presence there! Let’s Talk! Let Me turn your situation around.”
“I think we hear people say, “I’m waiting on the Lord,” more than we ever hear, “The Lord is waiting on me.”
I don’t think we will find a scripture that states, The Lord’s people are waiting upon Him to move. Now there is a scripture that says, “Wait on the Lord, be of good cheer, and again I say, wait on the Lord.” But when we are praying God wants us to say something. He ask us to ask.
Seek the Lord while He is near. Call upon Him while He may be found. Do you know what He is trying to do? Encourage us to pray.
Seek Him while He is near. How will I know He is near? If His Word and spirit dwell in us we can tell. God’s Word lifted up in our spirit. God is there! He supports his word. He lives by His own word. He stands on his word.
The above article, “Discourse: Not Just Repetition” is written by Clifton Jones. The article was excerpted from the fourth chapter of Jones’ book Intimacy With God.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.