Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"...boldly to the throne of grace..." (The Lord's Prayer, Part IV)

"Abba, Father, all things are possible for Thee. Take away this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou will." Mark 14:36

"GUIDELINES! Not rules!"
One final thought on this subject: what I said in the beginning still holds now. There is no single "right way" to pray, no formula or checklist to follow, and even the best guidelines are not actual rules. Prayer is a living thing, because it is happening between two living persons, and what happens between two living persons is a paradox. On the one hand, it ought not to change. If it is a truly loving relationship, strong and deep, then it ought to last, ought to remain steady and sure like a rock. On the other hand, nothing will remain forever if it's not made new again, so it should strengthen and deepen, like a tree whose branches grow higher up and roots grow deeper down and yet the whole thing remains solidly immobile.

"I don't get fishing metaphors."
Make no mistake: regardless of your strategy, talking to God will be hard and feel clunky and frustrating at times, like any good relationship. It will last, however, and it will grow as long as there is love, and never forget: there is always love between you and God, whether you "feel" it or not. Of course, He has proven it grandly in Christ (Rom. 5:8), but He also proves it in the specific details of our lives, even in prayer where He has given us His Spirit to intercede for us (Rom. 8:26-27), saying what we cannot, finding the words we cannot. It's like that strange device that Flint Lockwood had that finally allowed his dad to articulate what he really wanted to say to his son. That is the Spirit in all our prayers. That is the love of God in all our prayers: we cannot lose, and we do not fail, no matter what or how we "feel" about it. So we strive in hope and struggle with joy, knowing that our good and great "Abba" God hears us, even and especially when we feel like we have nothing to say.


Jon Vowell (c) 2013

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