Sunday, December 01, 2013

Prayer and the Long View (PrayerLife)

Runner, on the river path in Monroe
My praying wife-of-40+-years Linda often gets up early in the morning and has "be still" time with God. It is in stillness, which means essentially a receptive, uncluttered heart-condition, that Linda meets and "knows God." 

The Lord says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.
- Psalm 46:10-11

The heart-knowledge gained in stillness before God is an experiential reality, even in the midst of outer chaos and forces that work to destroy us. 

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.
- Psalm 46:2

In stillness we gain experiential knowledge of God-with-us, no matter the circumstances. Our hearts and minds, as we pray, are brought into The Bigger Picture. I like how Philip Yancey writes about this. 

"In testimony given before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in South Africa, one black man told of crying out to God as the white officers attached electrodes to his body after beating him with truncheons. They laughed in his face: “We are God here,” jeered one of the guards. The Commission hearings bared the delusion of that brash claim, for the guards, stripped of all power, now sat in a defendants’ box with heads bowed as their accusers paraded before them. They had been dethroned.... 

...For the South African prisoner, or a pastor harassed in China, or believers persecuted in North Korea, it requires a great leap to attain that sublime faith, to believe that God is indeed exalted among the nations. I think of Paul singing in a Philippian jail and of Jesus correcting Pilate with the plain truth, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” Even at that moment of crisis, Jesus had the long view, the view from a time antedating the solar system."
Yancey, Philip. Prayer, Kindle Locations 416-425.

One thing that happens when a person prays is that God gives them The Bigger Picture, which allows them to see "the long view" of things.