Picture yourself and just one other person in a dentist’s waiting room (think pre-COVID, even pre-smart phone days). Do you attempt a conversation? Maybe, depending on your personality. And it could turn into a nice visit. But if the person ignores you, do you feel annoyed, irritated with their coldness? I hope not. They don’t know you. They don’t owe you anything. There is no preexisting relationship.
What if the room is the living room of your home? Another person walks past without saying a word or acknowledging your presence in any way. All through the course of the day, there is no interaction between you and this other person in your home. This could only happen if your relationship with that person is fractured, almost non-existent. Because we always acknowledge our loved ones.
Let’s say you do interact with this person, but your conversation is limited to topics necessary to your coexistence. What bills are due, who will take out the garbage, who has TV rights for the next hour? If one is a parent and one is a child, the child’s requests are basic: “What’s for supper?” and “I want to go to Johnny’s house to play.” The adult speaks only in demands: “Clean your room!”
These are pictures of two human beings together in a room who have no relationship or an unhealthy one. The communication level is directly related to the existence and quality of the relationship.
Now realize that there is always another person in the room with you!
“God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being’” (Acts 17:27-28).
In the last phrase, St. Paul quotes the Cretan philosopher Epimenides, and applies it to God. What’s this truth about God? God is omnipresent. His presence envelops every human being, whether we are conscious of it or not, whether we believe it or not, whether we acknowledge him or not. There is always another person in the room with you. Are you oblivious to his presence? Do you acknowledge him, but at the lowest level? “What’s for supper?” “Can I have a new toy?”
If you are God’s child, what does he want to hear from you? Anything and everything that comes to your mind, that weighs on your heart. Prayer is a conversation with your loved one, your cherished friend, your Father—with whom you have a fantastic relationship because of your Savior, his Son Jesus Christ!
Rev. Brent Juliot is Contributing Editor of Faith & Fellowship magazine and Pastor of Living Hope Church in Menomonie, Wisconsin.