Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Praying As an Act of Protest

Praying for one another, at Redeemer
One of the results of an ongoing praying life is that God removes unrighteous anger from my heart. God takes the chip off my shoulder. He softens the edge. He forms His heart of compassion in me for my enemies. He frees me from the prison cell of hatred, and releases me to love in ways I have never done before. 

For me this is not a theory but an empirical reality. My wife Linda has seen the results. I am a better husband as Christ is more deeply formed in me. I get changed. Most of this happens as I am praying. 

In praying I am clay on a potter's wheel. I am not the agent of my own transformation, God is. Many times I can feel Him shaping me.

This is praying as an act of resistance to the common, unholy structures of the world which demand conformation to their will. To pray is to protest against the hate-filled standards of our culture.  

Henri Nouwen writes: "Entering the special solitude of prayer is a protest against a world of manipulation, competition, rivalry, suspicion, defensiveness, anger, hostility, mutual aggression, destruction, and war. It is a witness to the all-embracing, all-healing power of God's love." (Nouwen, The Road to Peace: Writings on Peace and Justice, 22-23)