As One Speaks to a Friend

“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.”— Exodus 33:11

Who is the one person in your life you can talk with more freely and openly than anyone else? What is it about this person that makes it so? Is it their compassion, relatability, or listening skills? Are they encouraging, insightful, and honest in response? Or perhaps he or she also knows when just to be with you and to say nothing at all. Whatever their helpful character traits, I’m guessing he or she is a friend—perhaps a relative or a spouse, but foremost a friend. Likewise, I think hearing God through prayer starts at friendship.

God is our friend. It is striking, how often Jesus called people, “friend.” To the healed paralytic: “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”1 To the many thousands gathered to hear him: “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid . . .”2 In His parting words to His disciples, Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants . . .  Instead, I have called you friends.”3 Even to Judas as he betrayed Him, Jesus said, “Do what you came for, friend.”4 And as friends eagerly welcome conversation and delight in it, so it is that God invites us, His people, into prayer: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”5

Our friend is God. This One who calls us friends is also He who calls Himself, “I AM.” He is just, so His responses are right, and He is spirit, so He speaks to our soul. So, perhaps like Paul you have presented your requests to God through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, and experienced in silent reply “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.”6 Maybe with fellow believers you have pursued God’s will in a matter through prayer and, like the early church leaders, sensed a resolution that “seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.”7 It was while Peter was in prayer that God prepared him—both through a vision and then specific directions—to share the gospel with the Gentiles.8 God is love; He will answer as one speaks to a friend. God is sovereign, so He speaks with power, authority, and always as He wills. Then no matter how He chooses to reply, ours is to trust, to wait, and to listen for our friend, our God.

“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.9 Speak, for your servant is listening.” 10 Amen.

1 Luke 5:20
2 Luke 12:4
3 John 15:14-15
4 Matthew 26:50
5 Jeremiah 33:3
6 Philippians 4:6-7
7 Acts 15:27
8 Acts 10:9-23
9 Psalm 17:6
10 1 Samuel 3:10

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