Thursday, August 1, 2013

Prayerful Consideration

Prayer is more than the words we speak - it an issue of what is transpiring in the heart at the moment of prayer.  We focus so many times on the "eloquence" of the prayer when what really matters is the spirit of the heart behind the words!  Jesus is teaching one day and he wants to share with is disciples the importance of prayer.  As he does, he starts with the advice to not turn our prayers into big theatrical discussions, but rather to be real with God.  Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. (Matthew 6:6 MSG)  I think we are inclined to do a little "role-playing" with God, especially when we think the words matter more than the heart behind them!

In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.  (Matthew 6:14-15 MSG)

I think we make prayer a whole lot harder than it has to be.  As Jesus taught his disciples, he launched into what we have come to call the "Lord's Prayer", but as you look at what he says, you begin to see he is really asking us to bring to God the complexity of our life and let God sort it out.  It is only when we are real with God that he can take the "reality" of what we bring and turn it into something ordered, healed, and whole.  As Jesus finished up the instructions, he added the words above - emphasizing the "connection" between what God does and what we do.  So, prayer is really a way of bringing to God our "part" and then allowing him to lay out and perform his part.

Not to gloss over this, but Jesus frequently emphasized this issue of remaining "current" in our relationship issues.  In other words, don't harbor unforgiveness, because it will hinder the "connection" we have with God.  God expects us to be "connected" well with others, in turn connecting well with him.  This is sometimes easier to forget than we'd like to accept.  We almost dismiss our hard feelings toward another, just expecting they will take care of themselves.  Truth is - unless we do our part, God cannot do his!  Think on that one a moment - unless we do our part in the relationship (even if it means releasing someone from a "debt" we feel they owe), God will not be able to do his part to bring the relationship back to where it needs to be.

It is like we have a limitless supply of whatever we need in the relationship, but because we cannot find our way to doing our part, we have no access to the supply!  In relationship issues, God asks us to take the lead.  He never asks us to step back and let the other guy take the first step.  He asks us to make a path to their doorstep - take the initiative.  If this concerns God so much it ought to cause a little concern, as well.  Jesus came to reconcile man to God - to make a way for the connection to be restored.  In turn, his action on our part exemplifies the action God wants from us as it applies to those around us.

Now, I realize this message is about prayer, but prayer requires a connected heart.  A connected heart is impossible if something is blocking the connection.  So, understanding the issues which block the connection is quite important, no?  God wants us to be where he wants us to be, doing what he wants us to do - our part.  His part - he will do what we cannot do, being all we cannot be!  Just sayin!

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