Is Prayer What You Think it is?

Kids phoneDevotional Thought of the Day:
42  They spent their time in learning from the apostles, taking part in the fellowship, and sharing in the fellowship meals and the prayers. Acts 2:42 (TEV)

89    “Mary has chosen the better part,” we read in the holy Gospel. There she is, drinking in the words of the Master. Apparently idle, she is praying and loving. Afterward, she accompanies Jesus in his preaching through towns and villages. Without prayer, how difficult it is to accompany him!

 Truly, God gives daily bread to evil people, even without our prayer. But we pray in this request that He will help us realize this and receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

We don’t need to pray as much as to see our situations change, as we need to pray to see ourselves changed. (Note the past tense here )

I don’t think we understand the nature of prayer all that well.

We can analyze it, we can teach people the elements, we lead retreats on it, and if we are daring, we might actually ask people how their prayer life is. ( I am not sure that is the right question btw)  That doesn’t mean we understand it, it just means that we know about it.  We can even say it’s having a chat with God, but even then, we fall short.

But what prayer is?  It is living life in Christ, in dialogue with the Father, dependent on the Holy Spirit.  We come up with words like fellowship, communion/community, or my preference we live in the most intimate of relationships with him.

That’s why Luther will consistently teach that prayer isn’t about making God do something but realizing He is actively doing that which is for our best, whether it is protecting us from evil, or helping us forgive, or seeing His will be done.

This dynamic of prayer is what St. Josemaria is talking about when he says that without prayer, we cannot follow Jesus, that we don’t recognize that He is guiding our paths, and helping us journey, in peace.

THat’s why the early church made prayer, daily prayer, together, such a critical part of their life.  Not out of duty, but it is the natural life when you are in a relationship, an intimate relationship with God. It is simply what we do, like Mary abandoning the housework to just be still and adore the God who came to her, who comes to us.

This time of prayer, this time of hearing from God, and learning to simply entrust everything to Him, not because we have to, but because that is what you do when you are sure you are loved.  It is far more than a quick check-in chat, a 5 or 30 or 60-minute briefing on our day.  It is lifelong dance, a

This is God at work, this is the God whose love we need to experience, to explore, to have revealed to us.  This is the God who we need to be with, listen to, depend upon, And all that happens when we pray…

please, consider sharing a moment or two when you were praying and knew the presence of God was there, comforting you, guiding you, even correcting you…

 

Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 361-363). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Luther’s Small Catechism: Developed and Explained.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on March 14, 2018, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions, Poiema, The Small Catechism, The Way and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I am not sure how to pray or what the exact definition is. Do I have to say the standard pre defined prayers or is ok to complain to God sometimes about how crappy life sometimes can be?

    • justifiedandsinner

      It starts with talking to God, sometimes pre-written prayers help (especially the Lord’s Prayer aka the “Our Father” from Matthew 6. I usually use that as an outline to pray, and jump off of it…

      As to complaining to God (not whining, but actually struggling with God,) I thik this prayer of Jeremiah’s is one o f my favorites:

      7 LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived. You are stronger than I am, and you have overpowered me. Everyone makes fun of me; they laugh at me all day long. 8 Whenever I speak, I have to cry out and shout, “Violence! Destruction!” LORD, I am ridiculed and scorned all the time because I proclaim your message. 9 But when I say, “I will forget the LORD and no longer speak in his name,” then your message is like a fire burning deep within me. I try my best to hold it in, but can no longer keep it back. Jeremiah 20:7-9 (TEV)

      (At that time, Jeremiah was telling them the consequences if they kept at their complete rebellion against God… they didn’t like it much!)

      Think about it this way, what would happen if you didn’t talk to your boyfriend at all. If you went weeks and months in his presence, and never said a word? Or let him say a word, or communicate non-verbally?
      Our relationships get deeper the more we share our life with another – that includes God.

      Thanks for asking!

      • Wow! You opened my eyes with this comment! I have been neglecting God for the past few years now and if I have noticed his presence, it was only to say “why have you betrayed me”.

        Thanks for the awesome reply! 🙂

      • justifiedandsinner

        I have often felt the way Jeremiah did….as I deal with a lot of trauma in people’s lives. Not all of it is self-induced…but some is. No matter what,, this job is a… hmmmm…. challenge….yes that’s the non cuss word I wanted 🙂
        IN those times, Jeremiah’s words, and how God used him still, are quite the comfort!

      • justifiedandsinner

        and thanks for the dialogue!

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