The Realness of God

Published on July 11, 2011 by CT in Blog, Thoughts


I have been contemplating prayer recently.  By contemplating, I mean I’ve been thinking much more about prayer than actually talking to God about prayer, which of course would be praying and might just help the whole situation.  But here I find myself, wondering why something so central to this faith we share is such a mystery.

Here’s what I do know about prayer.  It’s hard.  It’s important.  It’s much simpler than we care to make it.  And it’s far more complex than we understand.

I also know that pretty much every Christian thinks his or her prayer life isn’t all that great.  When you ask a Christian if Jesus died for their sins, they will say yes. When you ask a Christian if communion wafers are too dry, they will say yes.  And when you ask a Christian if their prayer life could be better, they will say yes.

I am no different, but I’m also tired of lamenting this fact.  I can see spending the next forty years dipping my toes into the shallow pools of God while shouting over my shoulder that’s it’s just too far to jump into the deep end.  But who wants to stay in the shallow end shouting all the time?

As I consider why my prayer life “isn’t as good as it could be,” I have to acknowledge the reason this is so: because my experience in prayer hasn’t been worth the effort.  By this I mean that the reward hasn’t been worth the cost.  While there are a hundred other reasons I don’t pray more earnestly, or more fervently, or more expectantly, or more willfully, or more joyfully, the ground-level reason is because I don’t think it’s worth my time.

I say this with conviction because I believe that tasting the sweetness of God and seeing the beauty of God will lead to the savoring of God over anything else, because He is the greatest of all realities.  And I’m coming to see that taking hold of this truth, that God is real, with all the strength I can muster, is necessary if I’m ever going to change my mind and see that time spent with God is absolutely time best spent.

It sounds silly to say God is real.  Of course we believe God is real.  We’d take a bullet to show that God is real.  We’ll give our money and our time so that more people will see that He is real.  We’re committed our lives to following Jesus, and worshipping God, and serving Him, and repenting from sin, and sharing the gospel, and all sorts of things that pour from a well-deep belief that God is real.

But if God is real to us, why do we cut Him off mid-sentence? God, I pray for our group tomorrow, that you would work…oh shoot, I forgot to send out that email about the time change.

If God is real to us, why do we continue to teach when we pray in front of a group we just taught? God, help us to see, that as you say in your word in the passage we looked at today, that actions speak louder than words, that we need to let go and let God, that the knowledge we gained today should change our hearts and sink down into the roots of our soul, which will bring forth the fruit that will evidence the change in our hearts and [fill in any other bullet points you might want to reinforce from the message].

Real people having real conversations speak in a certain way, and people praying to a God they aren’t deeply convinced is listening speak in a different way.  Now this may be a reality of our faith, that the process of being made into the image of Christ comes with stretching and growing and yearning, and that’s OK.  But as one preacher says, “It’s OK to not be OK.  It’s just not OK to stay that way.”

So this is my prayer today for all of usGod, be real to us.  Help us to pray, hear us, speak to us, and give us a heart that desires you most.

Question:  How’s your prayer life?

  • Vipul

    God has put himself to each and everybody and in to all micro particles to macro elements. These way he creates, cares and destroy and recreate everything when he wants. This means that if anybody has to sufer then ultimately he is suferer, ultimately he is enjoyer, He is involved and evolved. Now i request you all do not blindly take effort to find Him in Images, Stones, Or in Words, He is everywhere so find Him broadly. But no need of finding him at all. He makes us to do whatever He wants in paraconcious level.


    • Chris_Tomlinson

      Hi Vipul,

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Just to dig a little deeper with you, would you say that God is distinct from each and everyone and micro particles and macro particles? Or would you say that all the material world *is* God?

      Searching for truth with you,


  • Krista's Paper Cafe

    More good thoughts. Chris you are truly an instrument of God.
    Here's something to contemplate: If we believe that God is real, we ought to go about our day remembering that God is truly right beside us (like our mate or our kids).
    I tell myself, if God were standing right there in Human Form, how would I act or what would I say?
    Now, I am not saying that I do not sin. I have to start over many times a day.
    When I do remember, I often engage God in conversation. I need a lot of help to get through the day. I also know there are many little reasons for praise to God throughout the day.
    I hope no one sees this as cheating. (I pray as well.) I love being in the presence of God. I do have to work on it–even tho God offers it freely. When I do this, I am a much better person to my family.
    Sometimes I need "helps." Christian music, classical music, wearing a cross or putting a cross in my pocket.

    • Chris_Tomlinson

      Good word, Krista. I have a friend whose mom gets up each day to read and pray, and she says the motivator for her each morning, when she wakes up tired and just wanting to snooze, is to image Jesus sitting in her living room waiting to meet. If she had a "real" guest there, she'd get up in an instant! Maybe something else to contemplate: not only is God with us (beside us as you say), but what does it mean for our going about our day to know that God's Spirit is *in* us, working His will out through us. The conversation just gets deeper, more real, more intimate, the more we realize the realness of God, as you say!

      • Name

        I know I want to please God because I love God. I want others to know God. The best way for the latter to take place is for me to stand for God. To reflect God's "image" and God's "realness." The conversation does go deeper. So many tangents off this one. But they only reinforce my belief. While some of it I cannot wrap my mind around, my soul assures me!

  • lauradroege

    Great post. One thing that helped me was Richard Foster's book on Prayer, where he writes about different types of prayer. Sometimes I think we make it too complicated and simple prayers throughout the day help us connect with God as much as long times in prayer do. Both bring us to God, just in slightly different ways. I wish my prayer life was better, though.

    And the communion wafers aren't dry at my church! Someone handmakes them in the traditional Mennonite way and they are wonderful tasting (just like Jesus!)
    My recent post Ripping apart a novel and starting over in real life