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Posts Tagged ‘tenderness’

Prayer

ImageOne of the most difficult spiritual disciplines is to pray. Prayer is our response to God and his working out something in us. Prayer is difficult because it seems rather pointless. After all, it doesn’t produce anything tangible and after we’re done there is really nothing to show for our effort. Sometimes the response we hoped for, the feeling we wanted removed or established, or the clarity to our concerns just doesn’t happen. At least, not immediately. And, unfortunately, everything in our culture trains us to expect everything we want to receive to happen immediately. 

Prayer is not like that, it requires a language and understanding that only comes through constant practice. The language part is actually pretty simple. We have a rich language waiting for us in the Psalms. We have 150 Psalms that express a language that helps us respond to God with every emotion and experience that we might possibly undergo. The trouble is that we don’t know the Psalms well enough to pray them. In order to know the Psalms, we have to know the rest of the biblical narrative. For example, to understand many of David’s prayers in the Psalms we have to be well acquainted with David’s life in the Bible and know his very high, highs, along with his sulking lows.

But once we walk through the biblical narrative and begin to “speak the language” of Psalms we can begin to feel as they felt, pray as they prayed, and pretty soon we become interpreters who pray with just as much might, awe, and emotional intensity as the Psalmists did during their time. 

And finally, with long practice and many early mornings/late nights, we begin to understand. In prayer, we are changed. We understand that God does not change, but may be moved to action through our requests. We understand that in prayer we are co-writing history, not just passively accepting it. We begin to believe that God’s will really is better than our own and that we truly would rather be doing life God’s way than our own. Our view of life and opportunity expands, it doesn’t shrink. And, ultimately, through our prayer we reveal what is in God’s heart, which often we don’t know until we ask, until we search. And in God’s heart we find treasures and resources that can’t be found in any other way. Suddenly, we discover riches, not in money, fame, or power, but the riches of a warm heart, abiding joy, tender friendship. 

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