We have had several experiences with voice activated computer assistance, and frankly, they creep me out! One day I was having a conversation with my wife and I said, “Whether or not that works.” And from the closet came a voice, “The weather outside is overcast. Would you like the forecast?” One, I had no idea I had an Alexa device in my house, much less in the closet within an unused reader. Second, I had never activated it and wasn’t trying to use it. But it was listening. I learned further that it is ALWAYS listening, whether it’s responding or not.
Playfully, we decided to experiment and talked about something that was not at all an interest to us. We mentioned the product a few times intentionally. And when I looked on my phone later. . . I started seeing recurring ads for that particular product. Now, I know that many of you have had similar experiences (and some of us have completely disabled those features because of those experiences!)
We have no trouble believing that artificial intelligence algorithms are chronicling our shopping and conversations. Why do we so easily believe that God isn’t listening to our hearts? Why have we believed that we must go through so many motions to enter into God’s presence with our hurts & hopes? Why have we believed we must say special words, be in special places, with particular postures? What if we treated God with an assumption we readily attribute to Siri & Alexa?
I had a friend who prayed in such a way that it sounded like was already in the midst of a conversation with Him. THAT kind of prayer would permeate our day just as thoughts of my wife and kids have permeated my day since I became a husband and father. They are always at the edge of my thoughts and I think nothing of texting or calling to check in or ask a question. What if we treated prayer as an ongoing conversation with God? What if we brought everything before Him, listened and sought His counsel about everything?
I have turned off devices because I don’t want a computer “listening in.” But I delight in the fact that my Heavenly Father is listening in. Why? Because HE LOVES ME. And that confidence changes everything. He may not answer the way I want, or when I want. But I am confident that He loves me most, and I can trust Him. So I’m more at home praying now.
And I hope you’ll make yourself “at home” in His presence, bringing everything to Him in prayer.