Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pray To Be At Home With God (PrayerLife)

Sunrise on Lake Erie
Sterling State Park in Monroe

C.S. Lewis believed that all human beings have within them an "inconsolable longing" for "we know not what." Lewis used a German word, Sehnsucht, to express this longing which is, ultimately, for God.

Lewis also spoke of "drippings of grace" which he experienced at times such as listening to music, or entering a sacred space like a cathedral.

The French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal famously wrote, in his Pensees: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.” No created thing can fill this empty place. Only God can. This is the place where God makes his home.

In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we read that God  "has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

In John 6 we see the nascent, forming church diminish in numbers. Jesus tells his followers that he is the "bread that came down from heaven" and that they are, figuratively, to "eat his flesh and drink his blood." Understandably, this was a hard teaching for some of them. We then read, in John 6:66: "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him." Jesus then asks the Twelve if they are going to leave him too? Peter replies: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

James Houston describes Peter's response like this: "The radical nature of encountering  can shatter any other alternative resource for living." (Houston, The Transforming Power of Prayer: Deepening Your Friendship with God, 63) Christ is "the Holy One of God." In Christ, God fathoms us. He is the fulfillment of the deep, existential longing of the human heart for "something more." As God makes his home in us, we find our reason for being in Him.

I love how James Houston ties this in with a life of prayer. He writes: "Homesickness for God is a mark of the life of prayer. Once we recognize that we are in love with God, then we will want to experience his presence as a daily reality." (Ib.)

Jesus said that “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." (John 14:23)

In prayer, cry out for more experiential knowledge of His presence. Pray to be at home with God.