Saturday, March 28, 2015

God-dependent People Pray (PrayerLife)

Door, in Monroe, Michigan

The less a person has, the more God-dependent they are. There are exceptions to this, but I find this to be the rule. "It is hard," Jesus said, "for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." And by "kingdom" Jesus meant: the rule, or reign, of God.

It is hard for a rich man to come under the reign of God in their life. For these reasons.
  1. - Material possessions tend to give people the illusion of control.
  2. - If a person has money they have more control over elements and diseases; i.e., they have a roof over their head, food to eat, and access to health care.
  3. - People with lots of stuff spend their lives attending to their stuff - storing it, protecting it, cleaning it, etc. This takes lots of time, leaving less for God.
When material things become burdensome joy decreases. Henri Nouwen discovered this and wrote about it in Gracias! A Latin American Journal. If you are wealthy and joyful for the right reasons (viz., the presence of God ruling in your being), then praise God. But Nouwen found more joy in the poor communities of South America than in the elite halls of Yale where he taught.

When I was traveling and speaking in central India I discovered that people who wanted to receive prayer were numerically greater than what I find in the U.S. The same happened on my Kenya trip. When you have little food, shelter, and money, it is common to turn more to God because there's nowhere else to go.

Weakness breeds dependence. When I am weak then I am strong, for the great Western illusion is that I am fundamentally non-dependent. 

Over time a Jesus-follower's God-dependency should increase. The truth of how we are essentially God-and-other dependent is more clearly seen. The illusion that we are "in control" is broken in us.

And, we pray more. An increasing prayer life is a sign of increased dependency on God. God-dependent people pray.