Well I am thoroughly convinced my generation, my contemporaries in the faith don’t really value prayer, that I don’t really value prayer! We talk about it, we know (with our minds) that prayer is important, we even do it before meal and at bible / book studies but are we really given to prayer, do we really believe in it so much that we can’t help but to make it a priority of our life.
I prayed for 30 to 45 minuets today and I want to pat myself on the back and feel pious or something. WHAT!!! That is so weak! Dudes like Martin Luther and John Wesley and the list goes on talk about spending their best 3 hours in the morning in prayers. THEY BELIEVED IN PRAYER!!! They believed that a praying person can move the heart of God and evoke change in the hearts of humanity. Do we believe that?
I just finished reading this book PRAY by Tony Jones. Extremely simple but good, really good. He talks for a chapter or two [about] prayer ending with the conclusion, Prayer is a mystery but we should have faith and pray persistently to our God for he is listening. Prayer is not a magic formula rather it is a conversation with the creator and sustainer of the universe, a conversation we should have continually in every sort of circumstance. At least that’s what I got out of it, he said a lot more than that but that’s about how he started.
He proceeds from there to journey through the scriptures highlighting prayers from different sections and genres of the text, ending with a conversation of prayers from more recent followers of Jesus. But in everything leading us through why, how and in what circumstances followers of God should, do and have… PRAY.
Here are a excerpts from a few of my favorite parts & quotes;
“Let’s face it -- prayer is confusing. But it’s also one of the greatest gifts God has given us, the opportunity to go to him whenever we want with our thoughts, concerns, pleas, joys, and thanksgivings.”
Psalm 130 -- A prayer of Lament. Jones says, “These are not prayers of despair or of giving up. In fact, if God didn’t respond to our cried, we’d have no reason for lament. It wouldn’t do any good. We cry out to God because God answers. We have faith that ‘with GOD’s arrival come love, with GOD’s arrival comes generous redemption.’”
Tony tells the story of Julian of Norwich. Her story is an extreme one but beautiful in its own right. Julian of Norwich had herself walled into a room attached to the church of St. Julian in Norwich, England. She saw only a handmaiden who brought her food and clean clothes. While she was in solitude she received visions from the Lord and prayed this prayer.
God, of your goodness give me yourself, for you are enough for me, and I can ask for nothing which is less which can pay you full worship. And if I ask anything which is less, I am always in want; but only in you do I have everything.
We can’t understand her devotion to solitude, her recluseness but I think we can understand (in part) her desire for God alone to be her satisfaction, she believed God was enough! There is something good, true and beautiful in that. I think we (in general) are called to live in community but maybe we should believe in prayer and solitude enough to admire those few who are called to live completely in solitude and devoted to fasting and prayer. And maybe, just maybe in the business of life we can learn something and practice, even if in just little ways, the discipline their entire life was devoted to.
Ahhh, this is a whole other deal! Solitude…
Well that is a few little pieces. Pick up this little book, you will be glad you did, promise.
Peace and prayers