Encounter the Lord in Prayer
Prayer is one of the few things in life that has been thoroughly and exhaustingly analyzed and yet remains utterly mysterious. Tomes have been written, cathedrals have arisen and monks have done monk things, and yet we still largely have very little idea of what we’re actually doing. Certainly, overly simplistic phrases such as, “it’s just a conversation with God,” provide some framework for our forays into the spiritual life. No question, the sacraments are a literal Godsend to help us structure our worship and supplication. But, show of hands, how many of us still struggle to actually pray each day, and how many of us wouldn’t be able to describe what it even means to pray every day? Friends, don’t be alarmed, don’t be ashamed and don’t stop reading. (Remember, even the Apostles asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.)
When I read Scripture, I see people praying in a wide variety of ways: Abraham building an altar, Moses arguing with God, David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant, Paul singing in prison, Stephen forgiving his murderers and Jesus alone on a mountain. At least three themes emerge. One, they all have a genuine desire to connect with God born out of the supernatural gift of faith. Second, they are cooperating with God’s grace and the movement of the Holy Spirit. Three, they’re acting like humans. Prayer is a human endeavor transformed by the power and presence of God. Yelling, singing, laughing, crying, asking, listening, talking, complaining, wondering, adoring and loving are explicitly human actions. These actions become prayer when God inspires, infuses and sustains them.
In these few words, I can’t teach you how to pray or give you the theological background of why we should be supplicating, worshipping, adoring and beseeching God each day. I simply want to challenge and encourage you to try praying today, right now, before you close this excellent magazine. I’ve heard it said that in order to pray always, you need to pray sometimes, so now’s the time!
Take a deep breath and repeat after me: Come Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus, I love you and believe that you are present with me now. Let the real me, encounter the real you.
Now, without using any previously learned prayers, tell Jesus what’s on your heart, and take time to listen to his response. He loves you very much.
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