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Daily Devotional Oct. 10, 2022 (from St. Paul Community United Methodist Church)

“She listened to no voice; she accepted no discipline. She didn’t trust in the LORD, nor did she draw near to her God”(Zephaniah 3:2, CEB).

I was introduced to a new word over the weekend: textlationship. A textlationship is a connection between people who text one another frequently but rarely interact with each other in person. People are spending more time connecting with one another on their digital platforms.

18.7 billion text messages are sent worldwide every day. We shortcut our conversations by using abbreviations such as TTYL (talk to you later) and BWL (bursting with laughter). While technology has helped us keep in touch with family and friends across long distances, texting cannot replace personal interaction. Maintaining close relationships via a simple message service (SMS) is nearly impossible. Even more, texting makes it easier for us to hide our true selves and avoid important conversations.

In her own way, Jerusalem had developed a textlationship with God. The seventh-century B.C. prophet, Zephaniah, claimed the people of Israel had become reluctant to draw near to God in prayer. While they maintained their faith in God they also kept God at a distance, which also made it easier for them to hide their true selves. This lack of intimacy led to a great many problems for the Jews.

There are seasons of my prayer life that I must confess resemble a textlationship. My words are directed to God, but I keep my heart at a distance. I am like the three year-old who hides his face in his hands and says, “You can’t see me,” even though I know God sees right through me.

I convince myself that if I don’t talk about certain things with my Creator, the issues between us will go magically away. But they don’t. In fact, the critical matters at hand often get worse and my relationship with God widens.

Prayer, I’ve discovered is less transactional than it is relational. Prayer is more than a simple means of asking for one thing after another. Prayer, as Richard Foster claims, is the place where God welcomes us into the living room of his heart, where we can put on old slippers and share freely without fear of reprisal or shame. Prayer is the open space wherein our friendship with God is refreshed and made new.

So, I have decided to lay my cell phone down for today. I am choosing to seek out an old and dear Friend. We have a lot of catching up to do. LOL (laugh out loud).

* Thanks to Carolyn Tuttle for sharing this devotional

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