Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It is refreshing after the cleansing of rains. Praise God for His graceful provision. As we heard about the serious drought in China and other parts of the world, we should not take rain for granted, and complain the inconvenience that it brings. It is our life support; something we can’t afford to live without. Pray that we, human beings, will stop messing up the ecology that God has created for our well being. We are supposed to manage but not abuse this Nature that God creates. We need to change our personal lifestyle to reduce our ‘contribution’ toward global warming.
According to Eugene Petersons, prayer is dangerous – it moves our language into potencies that we are unaccustomed to and unprepared for – it always puzzles him that so much prayer sounds so limp, that prayer is often so utterly dull. The limpness and dullness of prayer may be no more common in pastors than in laypeople, but they are more conspicuous in pastors, who are more often on public display.
Question: How does it happen that language used at the height of its powers comes out of pastoral mouths stagnant and stale?
Answer: It has been uprooted from the soil of the word of God. These so-called prayers are cut-flower words, arranged in little vases for table decorations. As long as they are artificially provided for with a container of water, they give a touch of beauty. But not for long: soon they drop and are discarded. Such flowers are often used as the centerpiece for a dinner table. They are lovely in these settings. But they are never mistaken for the real business of the table, the beef and potatoes that promise full bellies and calories for a hard day’s work. “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another – showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped for the tasks God has for us” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We need to learn using Scriptures in our prayers.
One of the indignities to which pastors are routinely subjected is to be approached, as a group of people are gathering for a meeting, or a meal with the request, “Reverend, get things started for us with a little prayer, will you?” It would be wonderful if we would counter by proclaiming William McNamara’s fantasized response: “I will not! There are no little prayers! Prayer enters the lions den, brings us before the holy where it is uncertain whether we will come back alive or sane, for ‘it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God.’”
If we reduce prayer into just a religious routine or some kind of spiritual decoration, we will be in big trouble. Prayer is our communication with the awesome God – a precious privilege and gift from the Creator to an unworthy creature like dust of the earth. Our attitude of prayer humiliates the giver of prayer. Have mercy on us O Lord! Though Jesus called us friend, He is still the awesome God, Creator of the Universe and mankind. We don’t necessarily need to beautify our prayer by using big spiritual words. But it is always helpful to interact with God through His word. By doing so, we emerge ourselves into the Will of the Living God in prayer. It helps to cleanse our attitude, expectation and thought pattern. Prayer places us before the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Let’s don’t down grade prayer into something superficial and ritual.
With Love and prayer,