Sep 09, 2012

       Psalms. Intercessory. Spoken. Silent. Formal. Informal. Wordless. Invocations. The Lord’s Prayer. Jesus away from the crowds. There are probably more ways of praying than I am listing here, but when I think of prayer I think of communion, of being in the presence of, of talking to, of listening, of being with, of attending to, of sitting with, of hanging out with our Lord. Prayer is attending to the Giver of our life who seeks us out as well. Prayer becomes the well-worn pathway of our seeking God and of God seeking us.

       We cannot talk about prayer as just a human activity, for prayer is or establishes a two-way communication between us and God. Two young neighbors may use a walkie-talkie to communicate across a yard, and young adults may text their friends or men and women may list their important phone numbers on a favorites list, but with God we are at a disadvantage—we can’t see God; She isn’t at the end of a phone line; He can’t be found through a satellite hook-up. But She is as close as our breath, nearer than our beloved, more natural to us than anyone friend or foe.

       We have to learn to focus our own attention on God’s presence, become aware of His action throughout our days. The more time we spend alone with God—through prayer, Bible study, and silence primarily, the more we become aware of how God is always present to us, if we but pay attention. God’s end of the prayer connection is always live and active, but ours?  We put down the “phone” and forget whom we’ve been talking to. Or we get caught up in the busyness of our days without a thought for the Creator.

       Sometimes I think that God tries to reach us some 500 times a day. How many of Her suggestions–to read this book or call this person, love, advice on how to drive home today, signs of forgiveness, answers to prayer do I catch? None? or one or two? or many, many throughout the day? Did I hear what my priorities for today were to be? Did I hear which to tackle first? Did I call ______ as suggested? Am I tuned in to all God’s murmurings? Did I hear his many calls to me today?

       Prayer is a two-way street.  It is no good if we go to God with our hearts and minds full of what we want and forget to listen for what God wants for us. I think the hardest thing for us to give up must be control of our lives, especially of the direction we are to go in. Here we collide with what God wants for us that may seem scary and foreign and unattainable, or not big enough and not fitting into our inflated image of ourselves. God whispers to us about many things, simple and complex, big and seemingly little, but He calls us to them because He knows this is the next best step for us in our lives and in our relationship with Him.

        So God calls us; our answer of deafness or a small tentative “yes” or a big “yes!” testifies to our willingness to let God lead us to our most natural home in God. What stands between us and God—our deafness, defenses, indifference, walls, anger, fear–is what we must offer up willingly in prayer. Put in God’s hands, our slow transformation into loving, patient, kind, self-controlled, forgiving people happens. With us in charge, everything is self-serving.  Who do you serve? God or self? The Kingdom or the culture’s goals?




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