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Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. (Genesis 6:9) 
September is going to be an exciting time for our blog as we roll out a month-long series dealing with practices for a productive prayer life. We’re calling the journey A 30-Day Conversation,  although Your 30-Day Conversation may actually be a more fitting title. After today’s post – the longest you’ll read during the month – the blog will be heavily driven by you, the reader, and your personal relationship with God.
Have you ever considered just how fervently God longs for communication with his children? The thought occurred to me several years ago when I found myself in the all-too-familiar situation of asking a child, “How was school today?” and “What did you study?” The answers? “Fine,” and “Nothin’,” respectively.
It’s a humorous, and often expected, scenario with children, but the truth is, we’ve all been in situations when we found ourselves desperately longing for conversation that just wasn’t there. And its absence is anything but humorous. In a world that seems to spin faster and faster while schedules become fuller and fuller, our efforts to pursue – really pursue – meaningful with others dwindle further and further. It’s an epidemic that too often builds walls in the most valuable and precious relationships. Between husbands and wives. Between the best of friends. Between parents and children.
As much as we humans long to keep the real lines of communication open with those we love, imagine the overwhelming desire of God the Father for meaningful conversations with His own children. Those He carefully created in His own image (e.g. Genesis 1:27). Children including you. Including me.
Consider that the Bible reflects Almighty God conversing or interacting in some relational capacity with a number of humans. For the purposes of this post, let’s focus for a bit on the account of Noah and his relationship with God as reported in Genesis 6:1-8:22. God actually let this man in on a divine mission that was literally about to make the biggest splash in the history of the world in its day. He told Noah of the coming water that would destroy world gone morally awry, and how Noah and his family alone would be the soul survivors and regenerators of humanity. He even gave Noah specific instructions on how to build the ark that would allow those inside it to weather the storm. And although Scripture doesn’t tell us, I wonder if God was right there encouraging Noah through every strained muscle, every hammered fingertip, every heckle from every heckler who stopped by the construction site to point and laugh. I can’t say for sure, of course, but I believe He was indeed right there with him through it all.
And one of the key reasons I have reached this conclusion is tucked into our passage of focus for today: Genesis 6:9 clearly states that in addition to being a righteous and blameless man, Noah walked with God. Please go here with me for a moment. The inference from the passage and its surrounding context suggests that this walking that Noah did was both an active and ongoing activity; otherwise, the relationship would likely have lacked familiarity with the personality or character of God from Noah’s standpoint. Be honest, if a stranger or brief acquaintance walked up and told you to build a three-level boat, then seal yourself inside it with your wife, kids and a pair of every living creature from the animal kingdom, would you really grab the nearest hammer and break into a chorus of Whistle While You Work?
“But God doesn’t need me to build an ark,” you’re probably saying at this point. OK, maybe not. Maybe you haven’t felt Him call you to do anything (a topic for a later post). But the bottom line is this: the one thing we can be sure of – the one plat of common ground we can all build upon in this series – is that our God is not only willing to converse with us; He relishes each and every one of those conversations. Relishes them and loves us so much, in fact, that He sacrificed His Only Son, Jesus Christ, to become human, suffer horrid abuse and die on a cross all in order to defeat death and give us the privilege (what an overwhelming privilege!) of instant access to converse and commune with Him now and forevermore (e.g. John 3:16).
In 2017, Christ-followers of any age, season or socio-economic group need just two key practices to either begin, strengthen or maintain an intimate and active walk with God akin to the walk exemplified by Noah. One of those practices the deliberate study of God’s Word, which is a luxury Noah never knew. The other, deliberate and sincere prayer is also a required resource for joy-filled, holy intimacy with God through the Name of His Son.
For the next 30 days, then, I hope you’ll join me on a journey toward starting, deepening – and yes – relishing the conversations between yourself and God as much as He relishes them. Each day, you’ll find a new post here on the blog; you’ll see a passage of Scripture, a brief thought related to the passage and two or three guiding questions to consider as you formulate your own PRAYER using the following formula. Also, consider recording in a journal or other document your PRAYER conversation each day. It will serve you well as a tool over the coming weeks.
Praise and Thanksgiving (Psalm 150:6):
            In your own words, who is God to you personally? What has He done for you specifically
            in the past day or so – especially the little things – that surprised you or drew you
Repentance (Acts 3:19):
This one seems obvious, but consider making a deliberate commitment to go
            beyond “I’m sorry” and make a sincere commitment to do your best through Christ
            to lay these sins aside.
Adoration (Isaiah 6:3):
            Love Him. Worship Him. And don’t be afraid to do so with hymns or other songs of
            worship…sometimes mere words may not seem adequate to you. That’s ok!
Yielding (1 Peter 5:6):
Is there something you need to turn over to God? A circumstance you can’t control?
            Complicated relationship? Your own will that’s struggling with His will?
Expectation (Psalm 55:22):
What are your concerns, your hopes, your dreams for your church? Your family?
Friends? Not-so-much friends? Yourself?
Restoration (Psalm 23):

            End your conversation with the firm knowledge that you are God’s and God is yours.
            Affirm your trust in His all-powerful, never-ending presence in your life. Thank Him
            again for what He’s done for you in the past and what He will do for you in the future
            that’s in accordance with His will. This is an important and proactive demonstration of
            your faith in Him.

Copyright 2017 Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.