Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Prayer Is Wider Than the World

(My prayer chair, in our backyard by the river)

I pray. 

In praying I encounter God and experience God. 

Prayer is talking with God about what he and I are thinking and doing together.

In praying I know God and am known. 

To pray is, historically, the heart of abiding in Christ. God has come to make his home in us (John 14), and we converse together in the living room, by the fireplace, that is our hearts. 

When a Jesus-follower realizes this, the listening part of praying walks onto center stage. This is actual, real prayer, and has little or no relation to reading books about prayer, or saying "I believe in prayer but can't find the time for it." (Which often is an indicator of unbelief.)

Praying is talking with the Maker of Heaven and Earth in our spiritual heart-house. This is a world of moral and spiritual vastness. I like how James Houston expresses this:

"Prayer is wider than the world, deeper than the heart, and older than the origin of humanity, because prayer originates from the very character of God. its possibilities are infinite and so our explorations in prayer can be vast." (Houston, The Transforming Power of Prayer: Deepening Your Friendship with God, 75) 

When I was studying Old Testament theology in seminary, one of the OT scholars we had to become familiar with was Walter Eichrodt. Houston gives this beautiful quote from Eichrodt, illustrating the scope and sensitivity of a praying life.

"The man who knows God hears his step in the tramp of daily events, discerns him near at hand to help, and hears his answer to the appeal of prayer in a hundred happenings outwardly small and insignificant, where another man can talk only of remarkable coincidence, amazing accident, or peculiar turns of events. That is why periods when the life of faith is strong, and men have enthusiastically surrendered themselves to God, have also been times rich in miracles." (In Ib.)

Engage in vast prayer-exploring today.

My two books on praying are...