What does it mean for God to speak to someone? This is a complicated question that often puts Christians on edge. We all desire to have a deep, intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father, but at the same time the world is full of charlatans and mad-men claiming they speak to God. So, how do we build a relationship with a God we can’t talk to? How can we follow Christ’s will if he tells us nothing?
Christian writer Nancy Guthrie argues that many Christians have approached this question from the wrong angle. In her latest article, “God Told Me”, Guthrie asserts that Christ does speak to modern Christians, but through scripture.
“God has spoken and is, in fact, still speaking to us through the Scriptures. We don't need any more special revelation. What we need is illumination, and this is exactly what Jesus has promised the Holy Spirit will give to us as his word abides in us. The Holy Spirit of God works through the Word of God to counsel and comfort and convict (John 16:7-15). Through the Scriptures we hear God teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training us in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The Word of God transforms us by renewing our minds so that we think more like him and less like the world. Instead of needing God to dictate to us what to do, we become increasingly able to "discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2).”
It is distressing how often scripture is overlooked as a resource to communicate with God. The wisdom of Proverbs, the joy of Psalms, even the stories of Jesus early ministry can still be applied to the present day. The problem is many Christians are seeking something more substantial. They want to speak to God through a burning bush like Moses, or encounter Him on a mountaintop like Elijah. For this desire, most theologians have only one piece of advice: Pray.
Prayer is our direct link to God. Scripture has clearly stated that when we reach out to God, He will be there to meet us (Matthew 7:7). But that just brings up another question, “how are we to pray?” There are many techniques a person can use to pray, but for the author of “The Art of Prayer”, the key is to pray honestly.
Sometimes I think our relationship with Christ is hindered by passive prayer. The Bible says to humble ourselves before the Lord (James 4:10), but often times our humility leads to a sort of "prayer filter." We’re never truly honest with God about how we feel, and we remove all passion from our prayers for fear of somehow offending God. I can remember one time I was having a miserable week, and though I prayed frequently to God for strength, it was always in the polite, courteous tone one might use to ask the time of day.
God has given us the means to communicate with Him. He has given us his scripture, and the ability to present our problems before Him in prayer. Perhaps it is time we stopped looking for a burning bush, and opened a Bible instead.
*Ryan Duncan is the Cultrue Editor for Crosswalk.com