“Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” Genesis 5:24
When I was a boy I heard an old preacher explain this unique text by saying, “Enoch and God took long walks together. At the end of the day after one of their walks God said to Enoch, ‘It is closer to My house than it is to yours. Just come on home with Me.’” The older I get, his explanation of the translation of Enoch makes more and more sense to me.
Yesterday Dana and I raced across town to get to the ER after we received calls from both of my brothers. Dad had experienced another one of his TIA strokes. These mini-strokes always take a toll on Dad, and reveal once again how fragile his life can be. He turns 93 in another month, and it is getting harder and harder for him to bounce back from these frightening episodes.
After his release from the hospital, at the end of a very long day, I took a short walk with my Dad. Making it from the car to his room at the retirement center has become a marathon. His once powerful legs have been reduced to a mere shadow of their former strength and his swift stride is now a slow, soft shuffle. Dad doesn’t talk much. He saves his breath for the walk. He needs every bit of it to get home.
Dad quietly remarked at how slowly he was moving and how rubbery his legs felt. It took longer than usual, but he made it home. When he sat down on the couch, he was exhausted, but he had a peaceful expression on his face. He was at home, not in a hospital. Like the old song says, “Be it ever so humble. There is no place like home.”
Dad has walked with God for over 70 years. His walk was out-distanced by the 300 years Enoch walked with God. Still, Dad has given his all to maintain the same kind of intimate communication and consistent companionship Enoch must have had with God. So should we all.
One day my Dad will hear God call him home, and his heart will leap at the invitation. What brings sadness to my heart will bring gladness to his. The very thought of it pains me, but for my Dad, the longer he walks with God, the less he feels at home in this world. Yesterday I sensed the spirit of Enoch all over him. Home is closer than it has ever been. He hears God calling.
It is interesting to note that there are no recorded prayers of Enoch. Walking with God for over 300 years, he may have learned the secret of intimate communication with God. It is found in listening to God, not in talking to Him.
“Jesus died to make communication with The Father possible.” Billy Graham
“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. “ Hebrews 11:5
In The School of Prayer, learning to walk is more important than learning to talk. As in life, so it is in prayer, walking precedes talking. When you do more talking than walking you will always trip over your tongue.
This should come as no surprise. Little children learn to walk by falling, and they learn to talk by listening. When they grow weary of being carried and watching others walk, they begin the process. By stepping out, falling down, and getting up their walking improves. Though painful, it is not personal. Everyone has to go through the process to make progress.
When little children are no longer satisfied with others speaking for them, they begin to speak for themselves. They repeat what they hear, not what they read.
“Faith comes by hearing.” Romans 10:17
The process of walking and talking takes time and effort, but the process leads to progress. It is not futile. It is rewarding. Seeking God through prayer is a rewarding experience when it involves more listening than talking.
“And without faith is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 5:6
NOTE TO SELF: Start walking. Stop talking. You need all your breath to keep up with God. Don’t waste your breath trying to bring God up to speed. He doesn’t need your advice. You need His sense of direction. You aren’t learning if you are talking. Start your walk with Him, by listening to Him, not talking to Him. If you want your talk to match your walk, TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!