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The Free Mobile With Full Coverage

We are so in love with the advances being made in technology year on year that it has diminished for incurious minds the wonder of human prayer.

Polling carried out by BEBO, the social network site, has revealed that teenagers send an average of 10,000 texts messages a year. I’ll do the maths for you: it’s over 27 texts a day, more than one per hour for every hour of the year. In my opinion, this is a very conservative estimate of the actual total. The research showed that most teenagers leave their phones on all night because they are afraid they will miss a call or text – something that parents of teenagers who occasionally have to share a bedroom with their offspring will know to their cost. In 2005, 80 million more text messages than cards were sent on Valentine’s Day. Yet one in four young people have dumped someone by text. You can see why they are tempted to do it as it avoids that stressful face to face encounter where you have to find the words to break someone’s heart.


Despite this, the mobile phone has been a great blessing – keeping us in touch with people whenever we want to speak to them. As people upgrade their phones they are ceaselessly on the look out for the best deal in town. So how about the deal that has full coverage, no rental, no charges. It can be used without sanction in school, at the hospital and in the restaurant. It can even be used while driving. In fact people are always using it while driving. I’m speaking of prayer.


A while ago I was seated in a café and had a quick look around as I finished off a drink. People were grouped in twos, threes and fours. Only one person was seated alone, at a table nearby. When I glanced again I realised she was in animated conversation, hands gesticulating and with a smile on her face. She wasn’t alone after all. An ear-piece leading to a phone showed she was speaking to a friend who could have been on the high street outside in suburban London or in down town Beijing for all I knew. Yet it was as if her friend was right beside her.

This is just like prayer. We are so in love with technology and the advances being made every year that it has diminished for incurious minds the wonder of human prayer. We can talk personally to the unimaginably powerful creator of the universe as if he were seated next to us in a café. The coverage is full: we can talk at the top of Everest, at the bottom of the Pacific or in the depth of space – as many astronauts have. The charges are paid by Jesus, who has given us access to God in this way. Our mobiles remind us on the screen who gives us the privilege of network coverage: O2, Nokia, Vodafone. Our prayers remind us who offers the privilege of speaking to God as a friend when we end them ‘through Jesus Christ our Lord’. His costly sacrifice has made this relationship possible.


Between his election and his inauguration as President, Barack Obama had lots of calls to make. One of them was to a US senator. He made the call personally – no secretaries were involved – and when he opened with ‘it’s Barack Obama here’ the senator put the phone down on him. She could not believe she would get a direct call from the President-elect. So he rang her back. Again she put the phone down on him, assuming it would be a prank by a mischievous talk show host. Eventually the penny dropped. Barack Obama wanted to speak to her: person to person.


You can understand her confusion and then her flushed pride at being called by the man of the moment. Today someone much, much greater than Barack Obama is waiting for us to pick up. Why do we keep him waiting like we do?



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