I’d like to challenge you to take some time today and seek to be connected to God. We understand connection very well today, as we often connect to others through our phones or computers or even watches nowadays. But what does it look like, feel like, sound like to be connected to God?
Years ago when the first internet connections were being made, I remember that computerized dial-up signal followed by what seemed to be the loudest static noise and then a couple of beeps. This all working together helped me to connect to the world wide web. Wouldn’t it be incredible if we knew were connecting to God and all we needed to wait on were the beeps, static and tones? It doesn’t quite work that way with God.
Staying connected to others as well as to God requires that we make some concerted effort. Just as we take time each day to check Facebook statuses, Twitter feeds, and Instagram notices, we must regularly “check-in” with God. This is nothing new or mysterious.This is a common discipline as old as any practice where people seek after God. It’s called prayer.
Prayer is the act of seeking to connect with God and give Him our requests. It’s a time to send up statuses of our day, give a shout-out or “check-in” as many of us do with our phones daily. Prayer is an act of communicating and connecting with God that can happen anywhere regardless if you have 3G or are in a 4G LTE area. There is never an issue on God’s side for hearing from us or receiving messages we send up.
However, when it comes to hearing back from God, this is a little more tricky. There are many times when I have offered prayers and seemingly never heard from God. It was as though my prayers stopped at the ceiling level and fell straight back to the floor. I suffered from what seemed to be a failed connection.
Was this God’s fault? Surely not! Every time I experience a lost connection, poor reception etc. from my phone carrier, it’s not because the tower is down or the signal, weak. It was because I moved away from the tower or my phone was in a place where the reception was poor. The tower remained strong.
When I experience hearing from God, it is often that I am not in a primary place or position to hear from God. As a tower sending out a signal, God is always strong:
10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous man runs into it and is safe. Proverbs 18:10
With this understanding, it is important to make sure that when I am seeking to connect with God, I maintain a mindset of prayer each day. I must rely on the Holy Spirit to lead me in prayer for the things that are on God’s heart and mind. But I also must find myself in places where His signal is the strongest. There are two places where God’s signal is always strong.
1) His Word
God speaks to us through His Word. He communicates through the stories, lives and relationships of the people in the Bible. In fact, the Bible is God’s written record for us that we might hear His heart, see His Wisdom and glean Truth for our lives each day. Romans 15:4 says:
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
If you are having a difficult time hearing from God these days, spend some extra time in the scripture. Read through some familiar passages again and perhaps study a story that you know every little about. Try to identify yourself with a certain character in the scripture and let God speak to you.
2) His Church
God speaks through His Church, His people. This is why we gather each week for corporate worship. It’s not just to hear the words of one man from a pulpit but to connect with other members and share life. Building meaningful relationships within your church community is very important if you want to hear from God, for God often uses the preaching of His Word and the people our our lives to speak to us. Hebrews 10:25
Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
If hearing from God has been difficult lately, have you been involved in church, lately? Are you connecting with people around you in meaningful relationships? Take some time this week and engage in Church. Engage in worship and allow God to speak to you through the music, the prayers, the offering, the sound, lights and His WORD being preached. Also let God touch your heart through the stories of those you meet, with whom you converse and share life with this week.
Plugging in may mean you have to unplug. If you really want to connect with God and others and hear clearly from the Lord, you are going to have to do some FACETIME. Looking God square in the face in prayer and laying aside your technology to look others right in the eyes are a couple things we all have to do to hear from God. If you are willing to do that, I believe you will hear from God in a profound way.
George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and the Creative/Mission Pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA