By Whitney Hopler, Crosswalk.com
Freedom in Our Conversations with God
By Whitney Hopler
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV)
I used to follow a long and complicated routine for my devotional time with God each morning. By incorporating various prayer and meditation methods I’d learned about into that routine, I was trying to maximize my spiritual growth. One day, however, I had to cast my entire routine aside to get to an early morning work appointment. All I had time to do was talk to God from my heart as I drove to the appointment. My prayers poured out naturally, even though I didn’t use a single method to express them. Then, a few minutes before arriving at my appointment, I stopped talking, asked God to speak, and just listened. God’s love flowed into my heart, and God’s guidance flowed into my mind – right there in the car. The wonder of experiencing pure, unforced communication with God filled me with joy. So, the next morning, I let go of all my formulaic prayer and meditation methods and enjoyed communicating with God naturally. It was refreshing to realize I didn’t need to pray or meditate in specific ways for my communication to count with God. I discovered I could notice God’s presence with me more by just communicating naturally.
God will meet us wherever we are when we communicate with him. We don’t need to worry God won’t listen and respond if we’re not communicating in certain ways, such as covering diverse topics, using formal language, or sitting still with our eyes closed. 2 Corinthians 3:17 assures us that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (NIV) We can pray confidently because God has given us full freedom to communicate with him. Not only will God listen to us, but God will also answer our prayers with mercy and grace. Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to:
“… approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (NIV)
God places no limitations on our conversations with him. So, we can pray in all sorts of ways. We can pray silently in our minds, shout our prayers, or even express them in creative ways like writing, drawing, singing, or dancing. We can meditate with the Holy Spirit in any situation – not just while sitting still but also while driving, cooking, walking, or even doing chores at home. Prayer is simply talking with God, while meditation is listening to God. If we’re focusing our energy on communicating with God, that counts as valid prayer and meditation.
Communicating with God is an opportunity, not an obligation. It should be inspiring rather than stressful. If you don’t have a long time for a conversation with God, feel free to check in with him briefly. If you’re not in a quiet place but want to connect with God right where you are, feel free to do so. If any prayer and meditation methods are genuinely helpful for you, feel free to use them. But if you’re following any methods that feel like chores, feel free to let go of them. You have the freedom to choose what works best in your conversations with God. When you do, you can notice the wonder of God’s presence with you and experience joy in his presence.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
As you reflect on how God has given you freedom in prayer and meditation, consider these questions:
- How do you currently incorporate prayer and meditation into your daily routine?
- Are there any obstacles preventing you from fully enjoying your conversations with God? If so, what are they, and how can you overcome them?
- What are a few different types of prayer and meditation practices you would like to explore?
- How can you prioritize checking in with God even when you’re too busy for anything more than brief conversations with him?
- How can you try communicating with God in a different physical environment?
- How can you make your conversations with God more expressive or creative?
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
Whitney Hopler is the author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including Crosswalk.com, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and Dotdash.com (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). She has also written the young adult novel Dream Factory. Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.
Want to grow your prayer life? The So Much More Podcast shows you how to create space to be with God. This podcast, hosted by Jodie Niznik, introduces you to two types of scripture experiences: Lectio Divina and Imaginative Prayer. Join our growing prayer community today!