Saturday, June 30, 2012

Prayer


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I have to admit, I do not like praying. I don't think I am very good at it. I can be inconsistent and very selfish at times. When I first learned about praying I had a hard time grasping what prayer was, that it was more than asking God to do things and saying Jesus in every other word. An average prayer looked a little like this:

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for today, Jesus I pray that I have strength to follow you. Please help me honor you in the things I have going on tomorrow. Jesus help me show everyone who you are and how you’re real in my life. Thank you again Jesus for life. In your name, Amen.

I mean really, what was I thinking. Thankfully I have learned quite a bit about prayer in the last 12 years. For one thing, it’s more than just the words that you say. One way to look at prayer is to listen to what God is trying to teach you and to do that you need to be silent. Silent is a hard thing for me to do...well not me being silent but the world around me. I like noise. 

One of the things I have learned recently about prayer is that it is more than just speaking with God and petitioning him with things that we are praying for. It's more about communion with him and a chance to glorify him. He also knows us; we can learn this in Galatians 4:6-9

          And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
          Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?
(Galatians 4:6-9 ESV)
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The idea of "into our hearts" is some sort of communication where God comes into our being and we now know him. How do we know him you may ask? When we ask for God to live in our hearts and pledge to follow him that is when we believe he is with us; although he is always with us. . At this point we can have the faith that God is communicating with us through other people and through prayer.

After reading up on Jonathan Edwards’s one thing he points out, that Tim Keller reiterates when he is talking about prayer is that Edwards teaches us that the biggest difference between Christians and Moralist is that as a Christian joyfully obeys God because of who he is. We don't obey God to get things but because we love him and give him pleasure because we see his worth and beauty. For this to happen we need to contemplate on God i.e. in conversation with him. (Paraphrased from Prayer and the Gospel Dr. Tim Keller, Version 3.0, c2007.)

So where does this leave us? We need to pray and we need to learn more about how to pray and what prayer is. If a future post I will try to help explain this by looking at Augustine and how he approached prayer so look out for that.


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