Monday, December 14, 2015

Praying Is Bigger Than I Can Think and Wider Than the World

Worship at Redeemer, 12/13/15

In praying I encounter and experience God. In praying I know God and am known, reciprocally. Praying is a core way of abiding in Christ.

The biblical claim is that God has come to make his home in me.[1] God and I converse in the living room of my heart. When this is actualized the listening part of praying takes center stage. This is actual, real praying, and has little or no relation to reading books about prayer or saying "I believe in prayer but can't find the time for it."

In praying I am introduced to a world of moral and spiritual vastness. I communicate with the Maker of Heaven and Earth! James  Houston writes:

"Prayer is wider than the world, deeper than the heart, and older than the origin of humanity, because prayer originates from the very character of God. Its possibilities are infinite and so our explorations in prayer can be vast."[2]

When I was studying Old Testament theology in seminary one of the scholars I became familiar with was Walter Eichrodt. Houston gives this beautiful quote from Eichrodt,  illustrating the scope and sensitivity of a praying life.

"The man who knows God hears his step in the tramp of daily events, discerns him near at hand to help, and hears his answer to the appeal of prayer in a hundred happenings outwardly small and insignificant, where another man can talk only of remarkable coincidence, amazing accident, or peculiar turns of events. That is why periods when the life of faith is strong, and men have enthusiastically surrendered themselves to God, have also been times rich in miracles."[3]

To pray is to explore and venture into the vast, limitless regions of God’s beautiful kingdom. Praying is bigger than I can think and wider than the earthbound world.

[1] John 14:23
[2] James Houston, The Transforming Power of Prayer: Deepening Your Friendship With God, 75.
[3] Ib.