Conversation means at least two people speaking. But how do we converse with God when we can’t see Him because of the present emergency? In this emergency situation, He does not reveal Himself visibly to us, for our sakes. This is why the Bible is called the Word of God—it is God speaking to us. If we wish to hear God speak, except in extraordinary circumstances, He speaks to us through the Bible. We speak to Him in prayer. Truly, as someone has said, “We commune with God through the study of the Scriptures.”
I certainly find prayer much more meaningful while reading the Bible. Have you ever had the experience of talking to God while reading certain parts of the Scriptures? I often find myself saying out loud, “That’s magnificent!” Who am I talking to at that moment? That’s real conversation. We read and we listen in that way. And then we talk back to God.
Going back to the imaginary fellowship room, our heavenly Father waits and we begin to speak. What language should we use? Should we look at our heavenly Father respectfully and say, “We prithee Lord that Thou wouldst bestow unctions upon us from on high?” I think He would smile sweetly and say, “Please relax, you can talk a little more plainly if you wish.” Unless of course, you are used to talking that way all the time. But did the disciples talk to God that way? Did Moses? Did Abraham? No, they all used up to date, everyday speech. They wanted to be clear. It was the language of their times.
I believe if we began to speak to God in that fellowship room, we would surely be reverent, yet we would be conversing with a friend and should use the kind of language we would use with our closest friends. Just what that should be is a personal preference. But surely we would use the best possible language to clarify our convictions, our feelings, our desires, our admirations, and our worship. The important thing is to converse with our heavenly Father as with a friend.
So what language would you use? Jesus addressed His Father as “Abba, Father” (Mark 14:36). Abba is the Aramaic word for “father.” So it is almost like saying, “Father, Father,” although it is a term of endearment. Some versions translate “Abba, Father” as “Dear Father,” the way some of us like to start our prayers. Paul urges us to do the same in Romans (8:15) and Galatians (4:6). He says that when the Spirit of Truth dwells within us, we will address the Father as “Dear Father.”
But most importantly, what would you talk about? Would you take time on such a precious occasion to say, “Thank you, God, for today’s groceries and here is my list for tomorrow, amen,” and then go on about your business? Or would you say, “Bless the missionaries as they carry the truth to the far-flung corners of the earth”? The Lord might say, “How sweet. How is it that you only think of these things when you are praying?” Of course, if you are the mother of a missionary, it would be appropriate for you to talk to God about your loved ones. But if we only think about missionaries when we talk to God, why do we talk about them and not the things we have really been thinking about all day?
You see, those well-worn phrases we think we ought to use when we pray, might seem rather empty when we are talking face to face with God. Suppose one of us left the meeting and walked with God through a garden nearby, wouldn’t it be natural to comment to God about the beauty and fragrance of a rose, and the beautiful sounds of the mockingbird? Or the lovely, lonely sound of the mourning dove? Couldn’t we tell Him how beautiful it was of Him to create things that way? Or would we simply say, “We thank thee, Lord, for the beauties of nature that surround us?” We do have such well-worn phrases to cover these things. It seems to me that if God really were our Friend, we would take time to talk about these everyday things, and to be as specific about them as we would be with other members of the family. We might even venture to ask Him about the thorns on a rose. “Did you put them there? If so, why?”