Sunday, October 03, 2004

Prayer...not what it seems

We just returned from our bay area simple church retreat. Mike Steele was with us for the weekend. A lot happened, but I won't get into that right now. This afternoon I had a thought that, the more I think about it, makes a lot of sense to me.

I haven't ever been that excited about my prayer life. I've been drawn to those with a more contemplative prayer life, and I've longed to be one of those people who can sit for a couple of hours with God. I've never been one of those people. I think I figured out one of the reasons why.

I've felt that the goal of prayer was mission, obedience, and guidance. I've believed that when God wants me to do something, He will let me know, and I'll (hopefully) do it. If I'm trying to make a decision about something, I know that He is going to show me. I've always believed this, always had this faith. Therefore, what's the use of prayer? With decision-making, he knows what I'm thinking, what my needs are. Why do I need to keep repeating them? Now, I do believe that there are times when we are to plead with God and not give up (Luke 18). The p0int is that most important thing is a yielded heart.

I realize that with this type of thinking, I let God off the hook, because he does not need to waste extra time with me. "Just tell me what to do and I'll do it." Efficiency is valued here! Here's the problem, though: What if the goal is not mission, obedience, and guidance?

What if the goal is instead intimacy between a father and his son? This throws efficiency out the door! This changes everything. Now, the purpose of prayer (talking and listening to God) is about building a relationship. The other stuff, though important, is secondary.

Mike Steele said a few times that the physical realm often mirrors the spiritual realm. In the physical, a father and son talk not to get things accomplished, but to build a relationship. That makes sense to me. Why then am I just now getting this? Perhaps it's because I've been deceived. This would explain a lot.

1 comment:

Jason Elder said...

Thanks for the reminder and thanks for your honesty and openness. Isn't it amazing when we step into a situation and then we walk away with our lives and minds changed? I enjoy your thoughts.