A raw testimony from the introduction of a great, two-author book I’m currently reading: “For a good portion of our Christian lives, prayer did not make sense. But that wasn’t our main problem. Our problem was that we weren’t being honest about it. We pretended that prayer made sense, but it didn’t. Prayer was dry, boring, and, while we’re being really honest, something we avoided at all cost. Prayer at meals was fine. A quick prayer for others was great. But being with God in the deep realities of life felt like wandering in the desert. Oddly, we never considered telling God how alienating prayer seemed.” (Where Prayer Becomes Real: How Honesty with God Transforms Your Soul, Kyle Strobel & John Coe, Baker Books, 2021).
If you, like me, have known (or still know) times when prayer felt lonely, abandoned, guilt-ridden, or boring, then, as Strobel & Coe are encouraging us, let’s come clean and be honest. Our sense that something is ‘off’ in us, or in our praying, turns out to be part of the Holy Spirit’s invitation to jettison whatever isn’t working for us, and to experiment with something entirely new, something radically other, something powerfully attractive, even possible for up-till-now pitiful pray-ers. If prayer, for you, is a rich and deep and rewarding, sweetly developed habit, there may still be wider vistas ahead, greater joys, more power, more confidence, more stunning breakthroughs!
Here’s another hidden-in-plain-sight Bible gem in Romans 8:26, VOICE: “…when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words.” The Apostle Paul acknowledges that he and others engaged in building this new entity, the Church of Jesus, the Anointed, don’t have a good handle on prayer and are dependent on the Holy Spirit to rescue their botched attempts, their stumbling vocabularies, their impatiences, their frustrations. I’m so happy to see that! They weren’t prayer giants, probably more like scrambling prayer minis. I’m in fuller company than I thought! I’m eager to get started on our 40-day journey of experiencing the depths of God’s love, accepting the invitation to come up higher, to take in the awe-inspiring panorama of God’s horizon instead of my limited, keyhole view, to know that God sees us and accepts us as we are not as we wish to be. Brilliant! See y’all tomorrow at 10 AM, 3 PM, 4PM. PD