Saturday, June 29, 2013

Prayer and Being Examined by the Great Cardiologist (Prayer Summer)

Me in Little Italy, New York City

I have never forgotten how, over 30 years ago, I was sitting on a rusty tractor in a field in a forest preserve north of Lansing, Michigan. On that day I read - as if for the very first time - Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” I remember saying, "OK God. Do it. Examine me."

In my heart I meant these words. I wanted to be searched-out by God.

God told me "John, I would like to do this. You're going to need to learn heart-stillness."

This began a several-month period of being searched-out by God. I underwent a spiritual heart examination by the Great Cardiologist. It was hard, and it was good. It was never condemning. It was, at times, exhilarating. I was a person with a diseased heart who was being healed and given new life.

In prayer, in the God-relationship, we will be searched-out by God if we allow him access to our heart. Richard Foster writes: "Without apology and without defense we ask to see what is truly in us. It is for our own sake that we ask these things. It is for our good, for our healing, for our happiness." (Foster, Prayer - 10th Anniversary Edition: Finding the Heart's True Home, p. 29).