The modern art of conversation – and prayer

The photo was taken from the top of Red Bird Hill near Possum Kingdom Lake. Jim and I love to hike and we have had some valuable conversations along that trail. We enjoy the exercise, but we also enjoy the opportunity to spend time with each other. We have been married 33 years – and we think taking time to have long conversations is an important investment in our relationship.

According to a recent article, young Americans send almost ten times as many texts as Americans over 55. I’m not sure if that is because they have more to say or because it takes older Americans ten times longer to send a text. My texts require reading glasses, punctuation, grammar and careful thought. Only recently I learned that the “:” and “)” was a happy face symbol! Who knew!!! I’ve watched young people text and, if “carpel thumb syndrome” hasn’t been diagnosed yet, it soon will be.

That same article said that younger people send 67 texts each day and receive another 1,831 messages. I just checked my phone. I received 3 texts yesterday and sent only 1. Of course, if Jim could add a sentence right now he would say it is because my friends all know that my phone is probably still set on the silent mode from the last movie I saw. I do send a text on occasion. It is a great way to ask someone to call me when they have some time to talk.

Truthfully, a person can do a lot of ministry via text and e-mail. I enjoy telling people I have just prayed for them without worrying that I might be calling at a bad time. It has simplified life to send a group of people the same news with just one message. My favorite invention is the ability to send a fun photo with ease. (Just wait until my grand daughter arrives!)

But the modern art of conversation shouldn’t replace the real thing. I know a Picasso has great value but those paintings are skewed images of the realities.

Face to face conversations are like a Michelangelo painting, requiring a LOT more effort. Those conversations require a greater investment of time but the result is a masterpiece – a valuable relationship.

A lot of prayers are like text messages – short, quick thoughts that tell God what we are thinking or ask him for what we need or want. I think God would be pleased if young people, or old people, sent 67 of those prayers each day. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 teaches us to “pray continually.” We should stay in constant communication with God throughout the day. We should be ready for that familiar sound that indicates we have just received a response as well. God sends his messages in a variety of ways!

Picasso prayers have great value but nothing can replace the real art of conversation with God. A real painting requires a great deal of time and effort before the picture becomes clear. Do you have that kind of prayer time with God ? The apostle Paul said to “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2). Devotion isn’t a word used for a casual relationship.

The “Modern Art” of conversation doesn’t require a great deal of time and it certainly has value. I will continue to “text” God throughout the day. But nothing strengthens a relationship like a long hike to a peaceful spot simply because you want to spend time talking with someone you love. Your spiritual life needs those times of prayer as well.

“Pray continually” and if you want a deep, loving relationship with God – take the time to get to a higher place, away from the world, so you can have a lengthy conversation. “Devote yourselves to prayer” and you will strengthen your soul.

“You will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:12).

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