A couple of weeks ago, I posted a survey titled: If You Could Experience God . . . The question was “If you could experience God physically one way, which would you rather do”, and the following options were given:
The results of the survey were
9% Feel God
18% See God
73% Hear God
It’s encouraging to see so many wanting to hear God’s voice over any other physical encounter with God, but why aren’t more hearing the voice of God. I think it has to do with our prayer lives.
Most Christians have a very shallow personal prayer life. We pray in church, and we pray over our meals, and sometimes when struggles come up in life or if we really, really want something, we pray for help. Our corporate prayer life is even more dismal, in that we might have a Sunday school prayer and a prayer during service, but there’s not much beyond that. And the average duration for any of these prayers? Less than 5 minutes. According to a recent Gallup poll, the average Christian in America spends one hour a week praying. One hour a week for the Almighty God, that’s all we can spare.
Let’s compare that to some of the other world religions:
Muslims are required to pray five times a day facing Mecca, each of these prayers are 10 – 15 minutes in duration. So that’s about an hour a day.
Hindus pray and meditate at least three times a day, usually lasting several minutes, hours, or days.
Buddhists meditate for hours, days, and sometimes months at a time.
It doesn’t really matter which direction you turn all the other religions spend more time in devotion to their deities then average Christians do. Why?
Exodus 20:18-19 has the answer. God has just called all the Israelites to meet Him on the mountain. He’s delivered the ten commandments audibly with a visual display of His glory, and it says, “All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die." God is offering to be their God and offering a relationship with them unlike any other in history since the fall, where He will talk to them audibly, and they reject it out of fear.
Just like the Israelite’s on the mountain, God has offered us a personal relationship with Himself unlike anything offered before. To have Him dwell within us and redeem us, yet we don’t pray as often as these other religions. Why?
It’s because we have a living God who will answer us. It’s easy to pray or meditate all day when nothing is going to answer. But we know He’s going to answer, and we’re afraid of hearing His voice. We’re afraid of feeling His presence. We know that when He comes near, He’ll point out all those things that we do wrong, and He’ll require change. We know that He’s going to turn our comfortable little worlds upside down, so we stay silent. We approach quickly and nimbly with trite empty prayers and run away before He can reply, and we say, “Pastor, you talk to God and tell us what He says.”