“Common” Prayer

Sunday, Mar. 29

Prayer is one of the most intriguing things in my Christian life. I’m in communication with the eternal God, the Creator of the universe, the Holy One, the Judge. It’s awesome. Yet I can be so glib or even brash. We come across as deserving, almost as though we are on a par with God. Bible references to personal encounters with God show something quite different. Think of Isaiah’s standing before the throne in Isaiah 6. “Woe is me. I am undone.” Think of Daniel falling on his face, prostrate on the ground and dumbstruck. Think of John’s response in Rev. 1—despite a strong intimate relationship with the incarnate Christ earlier. When we pray, we formulate words to accurately portray our thoughts to God, when we know full well that He knows our thoughts before we ever think them. He really doesn’t need accurate words. He needs a clean heart. How God can tolerate our casual “familiar” approach, our inflated view of ourselves, the idea that we can hide anything from Him, our attempts to come across as “righteous”—is absolutely amazing. Another thing: We do most of the talking. And we seldom make any effort to listen. It would do well to emulate Samuel’s response, as prompted by Eli. “Speak, for your servant is listening.” There’s a lot in that statement. There’s the idea that I want to hear what God says. There’s the element of being subservient; He is Lord. Then there’s the implication that when I get the message, I ;will obey it. This would be a marvelous way to start every prayer. Following prayer, there should be a time of meditation. David constantly talks of meditation in his Psalms. That practice has a lot to do with his relationship with God and why God was so in love with David. I hope my exposure of much of our prayer life doesn’t give you the idea that I am any different. I’m not. But the silver lining is that God loves us anyhow, and He is delighted that we want to communicate with Him. What a God we serve!

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