Wrestling with Prayer
While driving to a concert, a man gets lost. He sees another man standing on a street corner carrying a guitar case. The driver pulls over and asks, “Sir, how do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The musician replies, “Practice, man, practice.”
I’m sure most readers have heard some form of the above joke. If not, try this idea.
What are the three R’s of learning?
“Repitition, Repitition, Repitition.”
So I’ve been reading Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline and I get to his suggestions for prayer. I have to stop reading and take a walk for about twenty minutes, because his words are pulling me apart. He says such things as:
“We are working with God to determine the future!”
“To understand that the work of prayer involves a learning process saves us from arrogantly dismissing it as false or unreal.If we turn on our television set and it does not work, we do not declare that there are no such things as electronic frequencies in the air or on the cable. We assume something is wrong, something we can find and correct….”
“Listening to the Lord is the first thing, the second thing, and the third thing necessary for successful intercession…. Listening to God is the necessary prelude to intercession. The work of intercession, sometimes called the prayer of faith, presupposes that the prayer of guidance is perpetually ascending to the Father. We must hear, know, and obey the will of God before we pray it into the lives of others….”
“Sometimes we are afraid that we do not have enough faith to pray for this child or that mariage. Our fears should be put to rest, for the Bible tells us that great miracles are possible through faith the size of a tiny mustard seed…. Frequently our lack is not faith but compassion. Compassion was an evident feature in every healing in the New Testament. We do not pray for people as ‘things,’ but as ‘persons’ whom we love.”
How do I pass along these ideas to people who believe that God basically stopped transmitting no later than AD 90 or so?
LISTEN to God? No wonder I’ve felt frustrated and pointless in what praying I’ve done, even though I have gotten the emotional boost that comes from praying in the assembly!
How do I begin to believe that God speaks? How do I silence the scientific imprinting of our age, the voice of psychology that says that anyone who thinks they’re being spoken to by something from the spirit world is CRAZY?
John records in his seventh chapter: “So Jesus answered them and said, ‘My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone is willing to do his will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from myself.'” Peace and quiet, faith, prayer for guidance, compassion.
Oh, Lord, I believe! Help thou my unbelief!
in HIS love,