Why Pray? – 2

While churning through Yancey’s Prayer book over my piping hot cup of hazelnut coffee and a slice of perfectly toasted whole grain bread, topped with just the right amount of peanut butter and finished off with a drizzle of sweet honey….

  • Jane, a character in Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town, got a letter addressed to her farm, town, country, state, and then the envelope continued, “The United States of America; Continent of North America; Western Hemisphere; the Earth; the Solar System; The Universe; the Mind of God.” Perhaps the Christian should reverse the order.  If I started with the mind and will of God, viewing the rest of my life from that point of view, other details would fall into place – or at least fall into a different place.
  • I need the corrective vision of prayer because all day long I will lose sight of God’s perspective.
  • Prayer, and only prayer, restores my vision to one that more resembles God’s.
  • On a walking pilgrimage to Assini in Italy, the writer Patricia Hampl began to make a list in answer to the question, What is prayer? She wrote down a few words. Praise. Gratitude. Begging/pleading/cutting deals. Fruitless whining and puling. Focus. And then the list broke off, for she discovered that prayer only seems like an act of language: “Fundamentally it is a position, a placement of oneself.” She went on to discover that “prayer as focus is not a way of limiting what can be seen; it is a habit of attention brought to bear on all that is.”
  • “Be still and know that I am God”: the Latin imperative for “be still” is vacate.  As Simon Tugwell explains, “God invites us to take a vacation, to stop being God for a while, and let him be God.”  Too often we think of prayer as a serious chore, something that must be scheduled around other appointments, shoehorned in among other pressing activities.  We miss the point – God is inviting us to take a break.
  • Prayer allows me to admit my failures, weaknesses, and limitations to One who responds to human vulnerability with infinite mercy.
  • Prayer is the act of seeing reality from God’s point of view.

My core question about prayer is still unanswered God, but out of obedience I press and pray on….


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jeff Stubbe on June 20, 2008 at 7:23 AM

    C’mon Roy…get to the answers! You asked some very deep and thought provoking questions. Questions that many (if not all) of your readers have pondered. I’ve got a busy day too. At least answer #’s 1 and 2. Yes or no? Please, please, please tell us and hurry up. My kids are about to wake up and there goes my day. Great! Now my cell phone is ringing. Is today Friday already? Where did that week go? AArrggg! Here…I reposted your questions. Just put a “Y” or an “N” next to each one. Gotta go, Love ya brother!

    1. Does prayer change the mind of God? If so, can He still be God?
    2. Does my prayer change anything? Why pray?
    3. Am I praying effectively?
    4. If God is ultimately Sovereign, should that change how I pray?

    Oh, if only answers were that easy!!!

  2. Jeff – ha…I am begging Pappa God right now!

    But I’m beginning to wonder if the process of seeking Him and His answers is more important to our faith journey than finding the answers. But I’m still searching!

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