25 Aug

Conversation is an interesting thing. It is unique to individuals by style, intent, frequency and skill. It rather depends on the parties involved how a conversation might go. Some people are so easy to talk to as they share openly, are disarming in their approach and they have plenty of ideas to share. In other cases, sometimes it is harder to converse with someone who may be guarded, selective of words and topics and even a tad judgmental.

I have taught college communication classes for many years. The classes have included Public Speaking, Organizational Communication and Interpersonal Communication. Each class has its own theory, ideas and concepts to put forth. In almost all of the classes we end up talking about conversation. Public Speaking, when done with care, comes off like a conversation even if only one person is speaking. In Organizational Communication, we learn ways to work in groups and on teams for the betterment of business and conversation comes up in that class. And of course, Interpersonal Communication is based on conversation with friends, acquaintances, family and such.

To teach the concept of conversation, I often play a video. It is a TED TALK featuring Celeste Headlee, a National Public Radio interviewer who titles her talk, “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation. (This speech is quite enlightening and can be found easily on YOUTUBE.) Her advice is practical and easy to implement if one is willing to change a few bad habits. While I won’t be going through all 10 of her points, I will highlight three of them that I think are workable in all kinds of conversations, including prayer—our conversations with God.

  1. “Go with the flow.” This is when you are having a conversation with someone and as they are talking you begin framing your own thoughts to interject. This suggests that you have stopped listening and can’t wait to jump in. Celeste Headlee instead wants us to “go with the flow,” which means as YOUR ideas pop into your head, let them go right out of your head to keep your focus on the ideas of your conversation partner.
  2. “Stay out of the weeds.” This suggests that extraneous details and minutiae are sometimes irrelevant to the conversation. When we fumble about dates and times and locations that frame the story, but the story still holds up with out the forgettable parts… just let them go.
  3. “Prepare to be amazed.” This concept is designed to open our minds. We may disagree with the ideas coming from our conversational partner, and Celeste Headlee tells us to back off and just listen, because there is always something to learn, even from someone with opposing ideas. She wants us to set ourselves up to learn something rather than shut down our thinking. She believes there is something to learn from everyone.

Ah yes…prayer! Prayer is our conversation with God. Prayer is something we do in praise, in worry, in times of uncertainty and oftentimes we pray on behalf of others. In our conversations with God it makes sense to “go with the flow” and keep our hearts open to what God has to say. We often think of prayer as something we do rather than something we engage in. Consider prayer as a two way street with open thoughts to what God has to say.

In our prayer time we can “stay out of the weeds” and not bog the conversation down with all the extras that our Heavenly Father already knows. Perhaps centering on key ideas will make our prayer life seem more real and more focused. Reminding God of all the extras suggests that we don’t trust that God’s listening ear is truly available to us or that God is mildly unaware. God requires our vulnerable hearts not our crafty words.

And in prayer we should “prepare to be amazed.” God has wisdom we cannot even conceive! Let’s tend to it. Trust is imperative, patience is warranted and openness is desired. In prayer let’s be listeners in addition to being talkers, making prayer a true conversation.

Top 63 Inspirational Prayer Quotes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: