I would imagine nearly all of us have talked to God, which ever God we look to. Maybe we do it by prayer, or we actually do it as a monologue.
I get a little nervous when people say that God spoke to them or told them something, like you were having a conversation with actual voices. How it actually works is a mystery because God has never spoken to me. Yes, He (sorry, that is sexist) probably knows my name and could likely pick me out of a line-up, but He is not likely to have me on speed dial.
I am not making light of anyone’s beliefs or relationship with their God. However, I am skeptical of those who lean too heavy on God giving them direction or wanting them to do something. Really? God gave you a “to do” list? Was it on a Post-it note or did it come as an email attached to a lightning bolt?
My skepticism of religion comes from people like Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, Paula White, Pat Robertson or the other carnival barkers who use faith for profit. God is too smart to use these shysters as His messenger. If you like these con artists, I hope you have not given away your life savings.
I do know that God is very good listener. He never interrupts or just pretends to listen while reading the newspaper. I appreciate that. I realize He is quite busy, there are millions who want His ear, or whatever He uses to listen. You have to use some effort to communicate to be “heard”. God does not have to hear the words to know what is on your mind, but He does not read your mind, just your heart.
When I talk to God, I believe he reads my tone and conviction. What I normally receive is affirmation, as I talk through my issues or for the guidance I seek. God does not give me a roadmap, I provide the roadmap and the choices of routes. What I seek is sometimes the strength or confidence to take the route I have chosen.
We have free will to make decisions and determine how to live our lives. We are taught right from wrong, and learn values. As young people we develop reasoning skills and understanding, so that we vet our potential actions to guide us. As we grow and mature, more of that decision-making is turned over to us, and the challenges become more significant.
I am not a deeply religious person, I appreciate a variety of faiths. What I am is a spiritual person, which to some people is like drinking skim milk or diet Coke, a lesser substitute. God listens without belonging to a particular religion. You do not have to be a subscriber to get the benefits. Of course, there are some advantages and opportunities of belonging to a particular faith, as each person weighs that for themselves.
So what is my own experience of God talk? I believe God always hears me. I ask God to look out for people in my life. I believe those folks are helped in some way by my prayers. Sometimes I ask for the strength to precede on a difficult course or to make it through a hard situation. It is me who has to do the heavy lifting and navigate the rough experience, but I feel something accompanying me on that trek. Is God my co-pilot? Well, I do not hear a voice asking are we there yet, but one feels less alone.
So what happens when players from opposing teams pray for success? God does not determine the outcome of a football game, even though He knows the odds. It is not up to God, it is up to the individual to put them in the best position to succeed, based on their talent, work and focus. God is not a New England Patriots fan, especially this season. His money is on the Kansas City Chiefs.