Monday, December 09, 2013

Prayer and the 3 Gaps (PrayerLife)

Bald eagle, flying over our house (12/3/13)

Musician and worship songwriter Misty Edwards has a simple lyric in her song "Finally I surrender" that repeats: "You are God, I am man, You are sovereign." It's important to keep this in perspective, and affects the way we pray. God is all-knowing; I am a learned ignoramus. God is all-powerful; my powers are meager and dwindling even as I type. God is all-loving; I have hatred within. In prayer I confront 3 Gaps: the Ability Gap, the Epistemic Gap, and the Benevolence Gap (which includes the Grace Gap and the Mercy Gap). 

C.S. Lewis wrote that the true Christian must always keep their nostrils attuned to the inner cesspool. Because, while I am on my way, I have not yet fully attained Christlikeness.

To remember the vast qualitative gap between oneself and God reduces the pride and arrogance factor. This prevents one from praying things like "I thank you God that I am not like that other person," implying that God and I are birds of a feather when it comes to character and ability.

Henri Nouwen writes:

“To pray is to walk in the full light of God, and to say simply, without holding back, ‘I am human and you are God.’ At that moment, conversion occurs, the restoration of the true relationship. A human being is not someone who once in a while makes a mistake, and God is not someone who now and then forgives. No, human beings are sinners and God is love.” (Nouwen, With Open Hands, 54)

As you pray, remember who you are and who God is.