Clear Signals and Prayer

Having a clear communication signal is one of the highest priorities for people these days.  A recent British survey found that more than a clean room, a good mattress and an excellent on site restaurant, vacationers want to know they will have reliable and fast wifi access when they are away from home.  Clear signals are obviously important to us.

In April 2016, my wife, daughter and I had the chance to visit the incredibly beautiful, ocean side town of Canon Beach, Oregon. I had heard about its breathtaking beauty, and it didn’t disappoint. In addition to spending a few hours walking and exploring along the smooth sandy shores at low tide, we also took some time to wander through the town: eating little treats here and there, sipping coffees and shopping.

In one particular store it was hard to miss another visiting tourist. There she was, with her phone pressed in tight to her face, trying to maneuver herself into just the right spot so that she could have a phone conversation.  She was obviously frustrated as she called one person and then another, apologizing for not checking in with them yet that day, and lamenting the poor signal she was having to deal with. She had to repeat herself, raise her voice and move herself around to the front of the store in an attempt to communicate.

I wonder if sometimes our attempts at prayer, communication with God, don't often reflect the frantic, frenzied, unapologetic brashness of this woman's experience?

In contrast to that picture, I am being challenged anew by the life of George Mueller. He is widely considered one of the greatest examples of faith, compassion and prayer. In 19th century Bristol, England, he is most remembered for his role in caring for and providing for over 10,000 orphans. His story is a sobering challenge as we consider the needs around us and how God might choose to use us to make a Kingdom difference in this world, starting right where we are.

Here's an excerpt from this article, quoting George Mueller:

The difference, then, between my former practice and my present one is this: formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events I almost invariably began with prayer. . . . But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often, after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then really began to pray.

I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental [today we would say “experiential”] fellowship with God, I speak to my Father and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word. It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this point.

The good news when it comes to prayer, is that our God is never out of range, we always have a strong connection. However, it is possible, just as George Mueller discovered, that the interference or lack of connection could be a result of our positioning, our equipment, the readiness of our spirit to be shaped by the Sovereign. A clear signal of communication in prayer starts with choosing to call upon God the Father and then putting ourselves in a position to receive, to listen and to respond to His perspective. 

  • If you knew God wanted to show you something or tell you something today, that might be that might be more significant that what you have planned, what changes would you make to see or hear Him?
  • Given that many of our phones carry our Bibles, prayer lists and other helpful apps, how do you intentionally minimize or eliminate the inevitable distractions from the other apps/calls/texts/messages in order to cultivate clear communication with God?