Has communication ever been easier than it is today? We have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, texting, and a phone in almost every hand or pocket – even while trying to drive! Do all these tools necessarily make us better communicators? Not remotely! I think there is an old saying, “the tools don’t make the man” and that can be said for us as well, “the tools don’t make the communicator”.
So what makes a good communicator? The first characteristic that comes to my mind is discipline. I think a good communicator is convinced of the importance of communication and devotes themselves to communicating well. They share information with the people who need to know. This becomes a daily discipline so that work or family life flows with fewer stumbling blocks. They also are committed to listening, because communication is not just sharing information but also receiving information.
A second characteristic that I see as important is a sense of joy and enjoyment. Communication flows so much better and easier when it flows from the heart rather than from a sense of duty. We all have experienced that there are some people with whom we just find it easier to communicate, sometimes we don’t even have to use many words to express our thoughts to these people.
The real beauty of thinking about communication like this is that it applies directly to our prayer life. This scripture tells us plainly that these first followers of Jesus were ‘devoted’ to prayer. It was one of the ‘pillars’ of their practice of being the church. Like them, let us make the decision to be faithful and disciplined in our prayers, talking to God regularly, sharing information and concerns with Him (not because He doesn’t already know, but because we are to ‘voice’ these items to Him). Our relationship with our Father will grow deeper through this tool as we learn from Him and of Him. While developing this relationship, we will enjoy Him more and long to spend more time and energy communicating with Him.
Thinking on the importance of communicating and prayer reminded me of some writings of Brother Lawrence, a monk from hundreds of years ago. Brother Lawrence became an expert in ‘practicing the presence of God’, living and communicating each moment in an awareness that he was in God’s presence. That has become a goal of mine as I go through each day. It is what I think Luke meant when he wrote that these followers of Christ were ‘devoted’ to prayer.