Are You DSL Error Code 631?

Recently my DSL modem died. Two hours of on-the-phone tech support with “Margie” could not revive it. Interestingly, the DSL error code for a nonfunctioning modem is 666. The house was disconnected from the world for three days until a new modem arrived. No Internet connection for three days meant no email, no Amazon Prime, no Facebook, no in-the-house Wi-Fi communication and printing, no voice-over-Internet phone, and no Netflix and Apple TV. It was three days of sheer … bliss.

We are called to be in the world but not of the world. Sometimes being in the world can surround us with background noise that slowly creeps into our lives, distracting us from investing in each other and, more importantly, communicating with God. God desires for us to connect to Him through prayer.

As I reflected on communicating with God this week in the midst of my modem problem, a word picture developed viewing the Holy Spirit as a modem.[1] Specifically, the Holy Spirit modem connects us to God the Father, through Jesus, as we pray. God’s Word attests that we never receive the following DSL error codes from our Holy Spirit modem:

  • Error codes 676 (the line is busy), 678 (there is no answer), or 679 (cannot detect carrier). God is omnipresent, faithful and loving. He is always “online” and always desires to hear from His people. Only those who reject God will receive a busy signal (Proverbs 1:28-29).
  • Error codes 668 (the connection is dropped) or 638 (the request has timed out). God is faithful, omnipotent and immutable (unchanging). He is outside time and never grows weary.
  • Error code 691 (access denied). Jesus is our intercessor before the Father, and as a priesthood of believers, we have access to God. Even when we are disobedient and sin, we have full access to God to confess and repent.

The DSL error code we do experience with our Holy Spirit modem is code 631 (the port is disconnected by the user). The failure in connectivity is ours! We are the ones who fail to connect to God through prayer. God’s Word repeatedly implores us to seek Him, call upon Him, and to ask of Him. The Bible has prayer as its bookends—Genesis 4:26 states that men began to call upon God, and Revelation 22:20 closes with a prayer for Jesus’ return. “Prayer is God’s idea. Man’s need to communicate with God is a result of God creating that need in man.”[2]

The early church devoted themselves to prayer continually (Acts 6:4). In fact, there are approximately 180 references to prayer in Acts.[3] When is the last time you cried out, “Abba, Father”? Don’t become error code 631. Daily communicate with God. Pray for your own walk with God. Pray for your wife, children and family. Pray for the lost and for opportunities to share the Gospel. Pray for your church. Pray for our government leaders and for the nation. Get away from worldly distractions and just pray. Plug the “DSL cable” back into the Holy Spirit modem and approach the throne of God. He is waiting with unlimited upload and download bandwidth.


[1] Recall that every human analogy breaks down when taken to the extreme.
[2] Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry, PrayerShop Publishing (Terre Haute, IN), p. 7, 2008.
[3] Ibid, p. 551.

Charles Patrick

Charles Patrick

Vice President for Strategic Initiatives & Communications at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Dr. Patrick teaches in the School of Theology and serves as Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Communications. He is married to Monica and has four children.
Twitter: @CW_Patrick
Blog: charleswpatrick.com
Charles Patrick