Prayer (week 5)

21 Aug

Last week we talked about moving away from the idea that prayer is a transaction. From that perspective God is a cosmic clerk that is forced do to what the customer demands. We concluded that God is not playing a part in our world. We are playing our part in His world. He does answer prayer but not because we twist His arm. This will frame our discussion today.

Have you ever been on a long drive and suddenly realized you don’t remember one thing about the past 2 hours? Maybe it’s just a phenomenon I experience. I have a neutral part of my brain. This baffles my wife. She will ask sometimes, “What are you thinking about?” When I say, “Nothing,” I literally mean nothing. I believe there can be weeks, months, or years of peoples lives that are caught in this “neutral phenomenon.” They have been totally desensitized to the world around them. They serve utilitarian purposes. Their whole personhood is function first. Their bosses speak to them only as functionaries. They live drab routines and are only jolted into consciousness when a tragic event occurs. This is one of my greatest fears–to near the end of my life and not remember most of it. Irenaeus said, “the glory of God is man fully alive.” I want to be fully conscious and fully alive every day of my life. Prayer is the vehicle to awareness. Prayer jars us out of the fog and places us in the center of God’s story.

Self-Aware
The importance of being self-aware cannot be overstated. Over and over David asks God to examine his heart. (See Psalm 139) In order to approach God in prayer we must first be sure it is the “real I” that prays. It should be your aim to come to Him purely, without pretense. This cannot happen without self-awareness. This should not produce fear. It is not as if when you “reveal” your true self to God he is going to be surprised. He knows the deepest, darkest places of your heart. Introspection, in the Biblical sense, doesn’t turn you into a navel-gazer that is unable to muster an ounce of confidence. God meets you in your brokenness and reveals His love. In prayer we get an true picture of who we are.

God-Aware
In prayer we are nudged back into the awareness of the God-saturated universe we find ourselves in. There is nothing random. Nothing chance. The presence of God fills the earth. We are drenched in his presence even now. Prayer reminds us of this. Conversations at gas-stations, interruptions in your day, children laughing, a call from a friend are all God-moments. Every shrub is a burning bush beckoning you to take off your shoes and experience God.

Open your heart to the God who knows you better than you know yourself. Open your eyes to the God-soaked world around you.

3 Responses to “Prayer (week 5)”

  1. MJ August 21, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    Great post Joe!

    • pastorjosephphillips August 21, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

      Thanks so much! Really appreciate you taking the time to read. I miss Israel!

      • MJ August 21, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

        No problem! I love reading other people’s blogs. I guess its what writers do. Ha! And I always find myself missing Israel!

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