The 2000 movie Castaway is the story of a man, Chuck (played by Tom Hanks), who is left plane wrecked on the shores of an uninhabited island. Chuck finds that he is alone and within a very short time, he is craving conversation and companionship. He finds a volleyball in one of the packages that has washed ashore and proceeds to draw a face in the bloody hand print on the ball, names it Wilson and begins talking to it
Throughout the film, Chuck has constant conversations and arguments with Wilson – communication and expression that he craves with another human. He eventually figures out a way to leave the island and within a short time, “Wilson” falls from the raft and is lost. Chuck is devastated, his constant companion, friend and conversation mate is gone.
How do we feel when we lose that deep connection with our heavenly Father? When I think back to the movie, I am reminded of my craving to connect and commune with God. Prayer is a unique opportunity that we have been given by God to have open, honest, two-way conversation with Him. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, He tells us in His word to “pray without ceasing” and goes on to tell us in verse 18b “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” These two verses encapsulate for me the very reason we have these cravings. We are created to connect and commune with the One who created us.
Praying without ceasing alludes to having an attitude of prayer, a keen awareness of His presence and a posture of expectancy toward what He is doing. God reminds us in Scripture of the need to be steadfast in prayer (Romans 12:12, Colossians 4:2). The purpose of this constancy in prayer is not as a means to petition the gates of heaven to get what we want, but rather to spend time with Him and connect with Him in the most intimate of ways.
How can we be constant in prayer? Set aside time each day to get alone and speak with Him. In these times, remember it is a two-way conversation; we must take time to listen for His still small voice. We cannot hear him if we are constantly talking over Him.
Allow the Holy Spirit to work in us – as He does that, we will begin to find that over time we are compelled to turn to Him for everything, not just those things that we deem as important or crucial – “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6”
For Tom Hanks, it was to Wilson that he turned to pour out his heart. For us as Christians, we have been given the most amazing of gifts. God our Father WANTS to commune with us. We must also remember the sacrifice that was made in our place. That sacrifice makes it possible for us to speak with our Father in heaven.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16.