If you had an acquaintance you only talked to in one of you periodic life emergencies, but otherwise ignored, how friendly would you say you really are? If you only demanded help, said a sketchy "Thank you!" and went on your merry way until the next time, how likely do you suppose it is that your acquaintance would even want to talk to you next time, let alone help?
I am guilty of such selfish behavior. I can hear the gasps of outrage and surprise. Surely not! Yet I reluctantly confess that such is the case. Who is my abused friend?
Recently I have fallen on tough times and consequently made my frantic 9-1-1 call to God. "Help! I need help."
I'm sure he heard my prayers. In the Bible it assures me that he does. The question is--will he answer? Do I have a right to expect him to answer if the only time I talk to him is when I need something? I used to have more than a nodding acquaintance with God. Talked to him everyday. Shared all my accomplishments. Thanked him for the abundance in my life.
And then something happened.
I started taking the abundant life for granted. The busyness of my abundant life meant I had less time to talk to God. There were so many other things to do. And then in the way that things happen in life, everything came to a screeching halt.
Suddenly, there is a yawning, aching space with lots of time to talk to him. To my amazement, I miss him. The day isn't complete without greeting him in the morning. Or chatting over lunch. Or recapping the day in the evening. Blessings are more blessed when they're acknowledged day by day. Maybe even hour by hour.
The individual relationship with God isn't about religion or going to church. Sadly, I know many people who are faithful attenders at church that never talk to God. For me, it's that daily "Good morning, God. Thank you for letting me wake up this morning. I appreciate having food and a place to live, too."
What? Not formal enough. Well, it occurs to me that God doesn't need formality. He wants appreciation and respect, however we express it. Have you ever heard a child pray? The Bible says to come to God as a little child.
"Hello, God. I'm back. How are you today?"