Sunday, May 03, 2020

In Praying, God's Peace Overcomes My Anxiety

(Downtown Monroe)

At times I feel as if I'm in a science fiction movie. Much is unknown, and the unknown produces fear.

What shall I do?

I focus on what is known. Which is Christ. 

I spend time praying. I have done this for decades. In a sea of change, this has not changed. 

A consistent, ongoing praying life brings overcomes the pseudo-wisdom of our fear-driven, anxiety-producing world. For me it looks like this:

1. I abide in Christ, in the act of praying.

2. Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33).
3. Therefore I overcome the world. (Christ in me, the hope of glory - right?)

My status as a Jesus-follower is that I am "in Christ." Praying, then, actively demonstrates my in-Christ status. As Christ is formed in me (Galatians 4:19) He gives me His peace and joy (John 14:27; 15:11).

Henri Nouwen describes world-overcoming and transformation into Christlikeness:

"When we enter into solitude we will often hear these two voices - the voice of the world and the voice of the Lord - pulling us in two contrary directions. But if we keep returning faithfully to the place of solitude, the voice of the Lord will gradually become stronger and we will come to know and understand with mind and heart the peace we are searching for." (Nouwen, The Road to Peace: Writings on Peace and Justice, 23)

In solitary praying I come to know peace and thus overcome agitation. I am made whole, by Christ, and grow beyond the chaos and fragmentation around me.

My two books are:

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God

Leading the Presence-Driven Church