Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prayer's Deeper Place

Last night while I was reading (Coming Home to the True Self) I was humbly struck by this sentence, " the most intimate expression of love for God." (p. 104).


Is this really true in my prayer life? I don't think so.

My prayers often have to do more with my needs and desires, with the trials and troubles of my life, than with my most intimate expression of love for God. Even in my times of prayerful intercession for others, my prayers are often self-driven. Even in my most compassionate and mercy-driven moments my prayers are for the needs of others, not really expressions of intimate love for God.

Sure, there are times of praise and thanksgiving directed toward God. There are times that I seek to tell Him that I love Him and that I am thankful for His love to me, but prayer as the "most intimate expression of love for God?" I have to wonder.

Maybe the author (Albert Haase, O.F.M.) is wrong in his assessment, but something in me says he is truly on to something. My time with the Abba God is to be about my relationship of love with Him. His eternal and holy love for me, and my response to His love. I have so much to learn in this growing relationship with the triune God. I so desire a heart that is fully His, and whose prayer, in all its attendant forms, truly expresses my intimate love for God.


Scott Cairns said...

Hello Pastor Randy,
Albert Haase puts it very well, I think. The prayer of the heart (that odd and ceasless disposition one must cultivate, acquire, struggle to retain) is all about our leaning into Him, into His presence, being with Him in prayer, with or without words.
Good journey, brotherman!
Scott Cairns

Anonymous said...

Hi Pastor Randy,

I think there are different phases of prayer. One type of prayer is the prayer of petition that you speak of above. But this isn’t all there is to prayer, as you expressed. There is also the follow-up prayer of realization. Without believing (realizing) the prayer has been answered, the belief in our heart will be that the prayer has not been answered, at least not yet. This is a form of doubting.

It is like Jesus explained regarding the incredible moving of a mountain through prayer, with nothing doubting that what has been prayed for, or spoken, will occur (Mark 11:22). Nothing doubting, I think, has to start with our wondering just how we would feel inside if the unselfish petition we asked had been answered already, and answered to our delight in the outcome.

I do not pray willfully anymore, I might add, but I pray trying to realize what the only outcome can be when absolute Love is in control. The Apostle John says “God is love.”

Ideally our prayers will be, say, 1% petition, and 99% realization, I believe. And it is in the realization part of our prayer time that our “intimate expression of love” and trust for God is glorified. Realizing that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5), and connecting this thought with, “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) – well, these two thoughts alone can move my mind into a different insight regarding what must be the real truth about what I’m praying for.

What is the projector in my consciousness mentally seeing when I pray? Is it seeing what the world is seeing (a mixture of sometimes good and sometimes bad situations), or is it seeing what God is seeing (“in whom there is no darkness at all”)? There can’t be any darkness in what God is seeing because there is no darkness in God for God to be seeing. This reasoning is my own way of arriving at a determination of “what is truth” and what is not truth for me when I pray.

If Jesus is in you – and he does live in you - and if you believe Jesus is the Word of God, then it is the Word of God that is in you to be articulated wisely - through you - in prayer … gentle prayer.

These are just some of my thoughts on prayer I wanted to add here on this sunny Saturday morning. Hope I haven’t wandered off the original topic much. Happy Thanksgiving! Gary