Monday, December 16, 2013

Prayer and the Grand Invasion (PrayerLife)

My back yard
I have built solitary prayer into my life. It is more and more my life, like DNA continues to shape my physical and mental being. 

I have done this because Jesus prayed, in solitude. Therefore, so should I, as his follower. As He goes, we go.

I have found this to be a special challenge in a world that is APP-addicted (see here, e.g.). In 1961 Howard Thurman wrote: "The fight for the private life is fierce and unyielding. Often it seems as if our times are in league with the enemy." (A Strange Freedom, p. 21) What might Thurman write about this were he alive today?

Thurman saw our world as a "great huddle" of people who are inwardly desolate, lonely, and afraid. There's a lot of stuff going on, a lot of activity, and a lot of desperation and loneliness. To combat this he wrote: "There must be found ever-creative ways that can ventilate the private soul without blowing it away, that can confirm and affirm the integrity of the person in the midst of the collective necessities of our time." (Ib., 22)

These cultural collective necessities mitigate against the deeper life by enforcing their fearful, urgent, task-ordering upon us, trying to shape the human heart into their purposeless, vacuous doings. All this herd-like busyness inoculates the soul against what Thurman called "the Grand Invasion" of the presence of God.

Thurman writes:

"There is within reach of every man a defense against the Grand Invasion. He can seek deliberately to become intimately acquainted with himself. He can cultivate an enriching life with persons, enhancing the private meaning and the personal worth. He can grow in the experience of solitude...

...He can become at home, within, by locating in his own spirit the trysting place where he and his God may meet; for it is here that life becomes private without becoming self-centered, that the little purposes that cloy may be absorbed in the Big Purpose that structures and redefines, that the individual comes to himself, the wanderer is home, and the private life is saved for deliberate involvement." (Ib .)

Get alone and pray today. Let the Grand Invasion begin.