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For quite some time, 8am on a Sunday morning in our house has become a special time. Not much gets in the way of the whole family gathering around a computer screen to catch up with my Mum in New Zealand.
Despite this being a familiar activity, I’m always amazed by the technology that allows us to spend time together; to see live what’s happening on the other side of the world. Not only do we chat, but often we’ll take the laptop outside to look at how the garden is doing, play ‘hide and seek’ with Niko the dog, as we move away from the screen and back again. From 12,000 miles away Mum will help her grandchildren with their homework. We’ve cooked together, ‘attended’ each other’s parties, read and listened to stories and loads more. And all for free!
This year marks the 142nd anniversary of the establishment of a direct telegraph link between Britain and New Zealand. Imagine then, a Victorian family of four, huddled around the ‘iPomegranate 6S telegraph machine’, eager to tap out a message to their loved ones in the furthest outpost of the British Empire.
As we look further back, history records the numerous challenges and frustrations of long distance communications. Letters and messages taking days, weeks, even months to arrive at their destination. With many never getting there at all!
In the Bible we can read of some unusual ways in which God communicated with His people; sometimes via angels, other times through dreams. In the book of Daniel a hand appears and writes on a wall at Belshazzar’s feast. We see God moving as pillars of cloud and fire to guide the Israelites on a journey. He even spoke through the mouth of a donkey in the story of Balaam.
Yet over all of that time, as today, there has been one form of communication that is always available, always immediate, has infinite bandwidth and costs us nothing. Even more staggering than the miracle of Skype is knowing that the moment we turn our voice and heart to God in prayer He hears our voice. An optical fibre cable may carry thousands of voices, but God hears billions of people simultaneously and answers them all.
Think about that. We can actually talk directly with God, the creator of the universe – creator of you and me. Not only that, He listens and answers. It really is an awesome thing, whether you’re a lifetime pray-er or just starting out. There is real power in prayer, life changing and life sustaining power. Archbishop Justin Welby said this: “In prayer God invites us to be His partners in the transformation of the world through transformed lives”. (‘Thy Kingdom Come’ – Jan 18)
So, if you’re not already doing so, how about making prayer, communication with God, as natural and desirable as the other things you do every day? There are loads of fantastic resources available to help you get started. CVM has produced a great little book called ‘Man Prayer Manual: How, When, Why?’, by Carl Beech, which offers honest, practical and inspirational advice. If you’re a seasoned pray-er, perhaps you could encourage someone else to start praying and offer to support them in that journey.
Wherever you are, the delight my family experiences for 45 minutes every Sunday morning is tiny compared to the joy each one of us can have in a lifestyle of communicating with God through prayer; committing each day to Him, seeking His will for our lives, hearing His voice and sharing with Him in everything we do.
Image Credit: Fré Sonneveld.