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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN




How Long Since You Prayed?

Mosie Lister's gospel hymn "How Long Has It Been?" has encouraged Christians to evaluate their prayer lives since 1956. The lyrics include these words: "How long has it been since you talked with the Lord, And told Him your heart's hidden secrets? How long since you prayed? How long since you stayed On your knees 'di the light shone through?" The song reminds us that at its most fundamental level, prayer is simply having a "talk with the Lord." We live in a connected age. Thanks to wireless communication technology, particularly the "smart" cell phones, people talk to and communicate with others far and near on a continual basis. Email and texting and tweeting and Facebook and Instagram and a score of other social media tools have exponentially increased the numbers of times that people connect and "talk" with others every day. When was the last time you talked on a phone (land-line or every or texted or tweeted or fa ebooked or otherwise connected with someone else via electronic means? For most who read these words, it has not been very long. Now, back to the words of Lister's hymn — "How long has it been since you talked with the Lord?" The Lord seeks to get texts through to us every day — His Word, the Holy Bib e, is a text-based communication! And according to the inspired words of 2 Thessalonians 2:14, the g spel itself is an attempt on God's part to "call" and make a wireless contact with every person living who is of accountable age. God wants to talk to you! And all that is necessary for that to happen is for you to pick up a Bible and read (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17). So, the question is, "How long has it been since you talked with the Lord? How long since you prayed?"

The Bible instructs us to connect with God via knee-mail — that is prayer! And to do it constantly. We are directed in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." Colossians 4:2 tells Christians to "Continue earnestly in prayer." Ephesians 6:18 teaches us to be "praying always." Bible writers believed that prayer puts us in touch with God! And so ey direct us to stay on-line with Him at all times. In Matthew 6:11, as part of what is referred to as the "m del prayer" or "the Lord's Prayer," Jesus instructed His disciples to pray these words: "Give us this day ur daily bread." He apparently expects us to be in touch with God on at least a daily basis. So, again, how long since you talked, really talked, to God?

I read a story about the professo of a graduate-school. She had a class of gifted students and included a huge amount of material on their final exam. Tension built in the room and people were sighing and gasping aloud as they began to reali e how much material the class had covered and were expected to recall. The following week the pro tossed the graded papers on her desk and announced, "Class, after I left here last week, the Lord spoke o me. He said, 'Gee, thanks, professor. I hadn't heard from some of those people in years.' " It's just a preacher's story, but it reminds us we ought not to wait until we face a stiff test to talk to God. He wants t hear from you often. So, how long has it been since you prayed?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ