Do you know anyone with a calling plan that allows calls to certain numbers without charging minutes? Before cell phones, we had land lines that charged different rates for local and long distance calls, and different rates for daytime, nights and weekends. My mom would always wait until 7:01pm when the nighttime rates kicked in and then she’d start calling out-of-state family. And she always made those calls from the kitchen phone. Why? Because it had the long cord that stretched clear across the room.
For most of us, the days of being charged for long distance calls and having phones with stretchy, spiral cords are over. But many of us still wait until a certain time of day or until we’re in a certain room of the house before we start thinking about calling God on our prayer line. And often there’s a big difference between our local and long distance calls.
Local Calls. Sometimes we may feel close to God and so we call Him up at a moment’s notice to talk about what’s going on. These are our local prayer calls to God. We don’t hesitate or think about whether or not it’s the right time. We want to talk to Him and we know He’ll answer. He always does. Our prayer calls may be long and involved, or we may have many short chats throughout the day. We call and He’s always ready to listen and respond. It’s good to be local.
But sometimes we struggle with the distance between us and God.
Long Distance Calls. We want to talk to God but there are so many reasons we don’t. We feel like He’s a million miles away. He’s probably busy. He may not remember us. After what we’ve done, He won’t want to talk to us. We don’t know what to say. Our prayers seem dry and repetitive. So we stop calling on God. And we drift further and further away.
But here’s truth: Praying to God is never a long distance call. No matter what we feel, God is always right by our side. We may not always see Him or feel Him, but that doesn’t mean He’s not here. That doesn’t mean He’s distant. Call out to Him! Reach out and believe He will respond. God says that if we come near to Him, He will come near to us. Let’s pray this promise to God with expectation and hope.
Although some people may travel to Israel or other destinations to feel close to God, we don’t have to be in Jerusalem to make a local call to Him. Wherever we are, it’s the right place and the right time to reach out and start a conversation.
We don’t need to use fancy words or have a prayer memorized.
In fact, God doesn’t want us to pray this way. God wants us to pray from our heart. How? By being open and honest with our thoughts and feelings. By talking to Him like we’d talk to one of our closest friends. By reading His Word and giving Him the opportunity to respond to us. By having a conversation with Him, which means we also listen. We can call Him up anytime, anywhere. Even in the car (just don’t close your eyes to pray).
God wants to hear from us like we want to hear from those we love most. We don’t have to wait until nighttime because our prayer call to God is never long distance. He’s right by our side. Right now.
“The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” Psalm 145:18
May I pray?
Father God, You long to hear from us. Thank You for always being a local call. Please forgive us for not calling You regularly and for not talking to You from our heart. Please help us to have the courage to speak openly and honestly with You about every aspect of our life. Please help us to come to You first, knowing that You will always listen. May we learn to be still and listen to You too. Amen.
Q4U: Will you make a local prayer call to God today?
I like this example of local versus long distance praying. I use to feel like prayer had to be perfect words, and eventually stopped because I am not good with words. Now that I pray anytime by saying anything I want, I feel much closer to God than ever.
It’s easy to get caught up in feeling like our prayers aren’t good enough or we don’t know what to say, so we put it off or push the thoughts away. But the closer we grow in our relationship to Jesus, the more we understand that God wants to hear from us. He wants to spend time with us. He wants us to love Him and come to Him, just like we would a loving parent or our best friend. He’d like us to be on the prayer line with Him all day every day!