A couple years back, someone told me about a theory that says there are three basic types of conversations:
- Me/Me conversations: A conversation that involves me bringing up something about me in order to talk more about me.
- You/Me conversations: A conversation that involves me bringing up something about you in order to talk more about me.
- You/You conversations: A conversation that involves me bringing up something about you in order to talk more about you.
Every time I think about this theory, I immediately start sweating as I think about all the selfish Me/Me conversations I’ve had in the past week. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll be thrilled to know that we are not going there today. You can stop sweating. We’re actually going to hijack this conversation theory for a completely different purpose.
I think it can be used as a tool to help us better connect with God.
For this to work though, we need to understand that God loves us so much that he wants us to have all three of those types of conversations with him. Truly. Even if we talked about ourselves—our struggles, our fears, our dreams, our hopes, our failures, and more—all day long with him, he’d still never grow tired of the conversation. He loves us that much. But God also knows that Me/Me conversations won’t get us very far when we’re looking for answers, comfort, purpose, and peace. God knows that we need his “You” for that.
That means our prayer conversations could actually benefit from using all three types of conversation. Here’s what that would look like:
- Me/Me prayers: Share your “stuff” and get real with God. The good, the bad, the ugly—bring it all before God. Confess sins, freely express doubts, give voice to your wildest dreams, ask him for a miracle, or simply tell him about your day.
- You/Me prayers: This is where you remind God of the promises he’s made in the Bible. The best part about these “reminders” is that God never forgets anything, so they’re actually a reminder for us—a reminder of his goodness, his power, his love, and the future he has promised. By quoting Bible verses as part of our prayers, we get to be refreshed and recharged by the reminder that he’s in control. If you’re not sure where to begin, here’s one of my favorite promises that God says to us through the prophet Jeremiah: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (Jeremiah 29:11 MSG). You can actually say these words in your prayer conversations with God. It might sound something like this: “God, you promise in your Word that you know what you’re doing. You say that you have it all planned out and that your plan will care for me and give me the future I hope for. You promise that you will not abandon me. I need your help with believing that today. It sounds too good to be true when I look at the obstacles in front of me right now . . .”
- You/You prayers: Praise him. Worship him. Let everything else around you fade away and focus only on the awesomeness of God. Meditate on his power and might. Marvel at his creativity and wisdom. Pause and take a moment to try to comprehend how God can have no beginning and no end (I find that quality of God completely mind-blowing). If you struggle with this type of prayer conversation, try praying along with the words of your favorite worship song. Or you might consider a change of scenery; try a You/You prayer while on a hike or as you take in the beauty of an evening sunset. Sometimes these kinds of prayers come out more freely when we’re singing or spending time surrounded by nature.
When we pray with all three of these conversation types, it offers us more ways to connect with God and realign our plans with his. That’s a pretty solid reason to give it a try. Plus, as much as I’d like to claim full credit for this whole idea, I’m pretty sure God invented it. Jesus actually used all three types of conversation in his suggestion for prayer in the Bible:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, (You/You)
your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. (You/You)
Give us today our daily bread. (Me/Me)
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. (You/Me)
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (You/Me)
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. (You/You)