We’re in this Together
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” – John 16:13-15
What is the difference between a conversation and a monologue? The number of people involved. A monologue is one person speaking; a conversation is two or more. If we are honest, many of us are guilty of approaching prayer as if it were a monologue – we speak and declare to God exactly what He should do and why. We often fail to see prayer as a conversation, with two speakers engaged in mutual discourse.
John 16 sets the stage for how our active conversation with God works. Through the Spirit, God is declaring to us His truth, guiding us into all righteousness, and showing us the path and purpose that He has for us. As we pray, we are tuning ourselves into the truth the Spirit is declaring to us, and preparing our hearts and minds for godly action.
Dallas Willard argues that prayer is “an honest exchange between people who are doing things together. God and I are working together, and I need to invoke his power in that activity. Joint activity is a key to understanding how the conversation flows.” As Christians, God is working through us to achieve His purposes, and He is not silent on how those purposes are to be achieved. He proclaims to us through His Spirit in our prayers how He would have us to live and move and have our being.
When prayer ceases to be a monologue and becomes instead a conversation, it quickly changes from feeling like a burden to being a blessing. When I realize that God is active in speaking to me and revealing truth, my disposition toward prayer shifts.
Reflection: Does your prayer life look more like monologue or conversation? If it has been a monologue, what are steps you can take to better listen to God?
Prayer: God who speaks, give us the quietness of heart and soul needed to hear from you. May our prayers be conversation, and may we look to your Spirit for guidance into all truth.