We’ve all had conversations. Some are encouraging. Others are uncomfortable. Many are ordinary. But we’ve all had conversations.
When we think about our relationship with God, it can be easy to think that our conversations with Him are a one-sided deal. We pray and hope for the best. But God has something else in mind for our conversations.
God desires a mutual relationship with us: one where we are known by Him, and we know Him, too. God wants us to find joy in spending time with Him. God is all about wanting to take us deeper, moving beyond surface-level conversations. He wants to know what’s really going on in your life. And He wants you to know about the ways His goodness is working in the world for His purposes. Here are some helpful ways to start having honest conversations with God:
1. Start Talking
Many of us feel so intimidated about talking to God that we never start the conversation. Having a conversation with anyone for the first time (or the first few times) can be awkward or uncomfortable. But if we hope to develop a relationship with someone, we need good conversations, and those take time and consistency.
Growing up, I had a pastor who consistently asked me to pray out loud when we’d meet in a group. No matter how small I tried to make myself in a room, he’d call my name and ask me to take the lead in praying. I always felt like there were other people in the room who had more to say or better things to say. But praying out loud with other people helped me feel more comfortable praying one-on-one with God silently. As I kept talking to God, my focus began to shift away from my embarrassment and nerves to spending time with Him and sharing concerns and thanks.
If you’re not sure where to start in your conversation with God, you could start by telling Him about your day. Share with God everything good that happened. And tell him about the hard parts too. What might feel overwhelming to us, God can shoulder.
2. Skip the Fancy Talk
When we talk to God, we might feel pressured to have all the right words and to say just the right things. But Jesus told His disciples, “When you pray, do not heap up empty phrases…” (Matthew 6:7 ESV). God isn’t concerned with flowery speech. God is interested in hearing what’s really on your mind and heart today.
Some Christians can get a bad rap for using fancy Christian talk (and the problem is even worse for seminary students like myself). We spend time learning how to talk about God with a specific vocabulary because we want people to know Him intimately. And this kind of language can make its way into our prayers as well. But the lesson I’ve learned over the years is that nice words don’t equate to spiritual depth. God is a God who desires to be known deeply, no fancy language required.
If you want a spiritually deep relationship with God, take some time to share intentional thoughts about your day with God. It doesn’t have to be long. A prayer can be as simple as, “God, thanks for today. Thanks for the good in it, and thanks for getting me through the hard parts. Show me how I can love others better tomorrow. Amen.”
3. Stop Talking
Sitting in silence is uncomfortable, especially in our busy world. But if we are going to get to know God better, we’ve got to take some time to listen to what God has to say about our side of the conversation.
I realized a while ago that I wasn’t great at sitting in silence. So I started with a 60-second timer to see what would happen. Gradually, my ability to listen without distraction increased to two minutes, then five, then 10, and on good days, I can sit, listening quietly for 60 minutes!
Try sitting with God for a few minutes after you pray and see what God’s Holy Spirit might speak into your life. Maybe you’ll receive an idea of conviction, inspiration, or wisdom. Concentration takes time and practice too, so don’t be afraid to set a timer for yourself and watch how you grow in discipline!
Imagine the last great conversation you had with someone. Now picture being able to talk to God with that same level of depth, care, and joy. Having that kind of conversation with God is possible because He’s made a way for us to know Him through Jesus.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get talking!