“I’ll call to the Lord…and find myself safe and saved.”
Psalm 18: 3
“Call” – To attract attention. To cry out loud. To summon help. To signal.
Is there a problem in my life right now and I need to call for God’s help?
“Pray as you can and do not try to pray as you can’t. Take yourself as you can find yourself; start from that.”
“Call for help when you’re in trouble – I’ll help you, and you’ll honor Me.”
Psalm 50: 15
A few weeks ago my college roommate called. She lives in Canada and unfortunately we don’t get to talk as frequently as we’d like. But when we do – it’s as though we never missed a beat in each other’s lives. For certain, our phone conversations aren’t sprints, they are marathons. This last call was over three hours long. And I don’t know where the time went. It seemed as though we’d been talking only a few minutes.
Perhaps you have family or friends that time just seems to fly when you’re having a conversation with them. You can’t wait to talk to them and you don’t want to stop!
This is what God offers to us when He says: “Call Me!” I don’t know about you, but I think this is an invitation that’s impossible to turn down. Our Heavenly Father, who has a universe to run, has given us the number to His direct line and then looks at us and says, “Anytime, anywhere, for anything – dial ‘Heaven 911’ and I’ll answer. No operator. No go-between. No machines.” It’s God we’ll get on the other line. Don’t take my word for it – here’s what God has promised: “(She) shall call upon Me, and I will answer (her)” (Psalm 91: 15 K.J.V.). That’s direct – simple – and plain. You call – I answer.
So now that we have it straight that we are to call and God will answer – what do we say when we get our “Father” on the line?
Over many years of reading books and using Bible Study Guides I have found all kinds of formulas for prayer. I’ve seen little “rote” prayers you repeat over and over again. And I’m not putting any of these techniques down. Anything that helps and assists us in communicating with our Father in heaven is beneficial.
However, I have found, for myself, that sometimes the “techniques” became more important than my direct communication. I found myself so concerned with saying the “right” words: I ended up not saying any words at all. Has this ever happened to you?
Well, one day, I was reading in the Psalms. And I have to tell you, David had some very direct conversations with God. David “spilled his guts” as we say, to God. You could never say David held anything back. He started out by saying to God, “Search me, look in me, and see if there is any evil in me.” Would you say that to God? What if God said, “Yes, Dorothy, I see in the corner of your heart that you are holding a grudge – that needs to go.” Now – I’d have to do something about that grudge – and would I really want to? That’s what is so beautiful about the way David and Job and Jeremiah and Isaiah and Moses and other people in the Bible talked with God. They were open. They were honest. They laid it on the line. They didn’t hold back. They talked to God like He was someone they could confide in. What’s more – the technique they used to talk with God was unique to themselves. Let me explain. A number of years ago, my husband and I were in San Diego to visit a client. I had packed a lunch for us because that city has many lovely parks. We stopped to have lunch under some large spreading trees. When we finished eating, we got into a lively discussion about some issues at our company. My dear husband, who is Cuban, is in the habit of waving his arms when he talks. He gestures frequently and with great flair. As he was making a point, I noticed a rider on a bicycle coming up to our table. When I turned I saw it was a park policeman. “Is there a problem here he asked? Jim and I looked at each other like, “What are you talking about?” Then he continued directing his comments at Jim. “The way you were waving your arms and pointing at her (me), I thought you were mad and fighting.” Jim and I burst into uncontrollable laughter and quickly explained that what to the policeman may have looked like a contentious battle was only a normal conversation between my dear, expressive husband and myself.
Sometimes the same thing happens in our communication with God. Someone tells you, this is how you should talk with God – but perhaps it’s not in your personality to talk in that fashion. I have a friend with such a soft voice, I am certain her prayers are nearly whispers. And then there’s the poem I read not long ago written by a girl who lives in the heart of New York City and she said that sometimes when she talks to God, she gets in her car, rolls up the windows and lets our a scream.
If you ever think God won’t pay attention to you unless you talk to Him just right, remember that Job argued, Moses challenged, Adam hid in the bushes, Abraham begged, Paul pleaded, Martha chided, David cried, and Peter said, “Save me.” Whether you rejoice, beg, cry, scream, praise, call, laugh, challenge, or even shake your fist at God in anger – He is listening. He doesn’t turn a deaf ear to any voice that calls to Him.
And one more very important thing. When my dad was 51-years-old, he had a very severe heart attack. After he returned home from the hospital I purposed that as long as my dad was alive I would not let a day go by that I did not talk with him -- whether by phone or in person. I had no idea he would live only five more years. But everyday during those five years, I talked to Daddy. Now you might be thinking, what in the world did they have to talk about every day? I’ll tell you! If I cooked a new type of food – I told him. Why? Because my dad loved me so much every detail of my life concerned him. Our Heavenly Father is no different. As one Christian writer so lovingly penned, “Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants of His children. ‘The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy’” (James 5: 11, K.J.V.). His heart of love is touched by our sorrows and even by our utterances of them. Take to Him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up worlds…nothing that in anyway concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our Heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest…the relations between God and each person (that’s you!) are as distinct and full as though there were not another person upon the earth to share His watch care.” In the words of St. Augustine: “He loves each one of us, as if there were only one of us.”
All He asks us to do is call! No magic formula. No special words. Just look up to Heaven and call out any way that works for you – just say, “Dad –it’s me. I called to tell you I love You! I called because I need you…….” And before you know it you’ll have talked for an hour – and you won’t even know where the time went.
That’s what calling your Heavenly Father is all about!
“Deliver us, O God, O Truth, O Love, from quiet prayer
from polite and politically correct language,
from appropriate gesture and form
and whatever else we think we must put forth to invoke
or to praise You.
Let us instead pray dangerously –
Let us demand with every ounce of our strength,
let us storm the gates of heaven, let us shake up ourselves
and our plaster saints from the sleep of years.
Let us pray dangerously.
Let us throw ourselves from the top of the tower,
let us risk a descent to the darkest region of the abyss
let us put our head into the lion’s mouth
and direct our feet to the entrance of the dragon’s cave.
Let us pray dangerously.
Let us not hold back a little portion,
dealing out our lives -- our precious minutes and our
energies – like some efficient accountant.
Let us rather pray dangerously – unsafe, profligate, wasteful!
Let us ask for nothing less than the Infinite to ravage us.
Let us ask for nothing less than annihilation in the
Fires of Love.
Let us not pray in holy half-measures nor walk
the middle path
for too long
but pray madly, foolishly.
Let us be too ecstatic,
let us be too overwhelmed with sorrow and remorse,
let us be undone, and dismembered…and gladly.
Left to our own devices, ah what structures of deceit
we have created;
what battlements erected, what labyrinths woven,
what traps set for ourselves, and then
fallen into. Enough.
Let us pray dangerously – hot prayer, fierce prayer,
fiery prayer, improper prayer,
exuberant prayer, and completely unrealistic prayer.
Let us say Yes, again and again.
And Yes some more.
Let us pray dangerously.
the most dangerous prayer is Yes.”
Regina Sara Ryan
“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord;
O Lord, hear my voice.
Let Your ears be attentive to
my cry…I wait for the
Lord, my soul waits, and in
His Word I put my hope.
Wait and watch for God.
With God’s arrival comes love,
With God’s arrival comes
Psalm 130: 1-8
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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