>We had a retreat for the Twentysomethings of our church last weekend and Teri Brooks spoke on the topic of prayer (go here to grab a copy of the prayer sheet she uses.) Thank you Sister Brooks for you words and encouragement. I believe and am speaking to God about fruitful impact from your talk. What a blessing we have in the privilege of prayer. And what a ever present, useful, always beneficial less often used tool. In seems illogical that we would desire to pursue God faithfully, long for him in a dry and weary land like David in Psalm 63 and yet we do not talk to Him.
John Calvin in his Institutes says many things which are really for another discussion. But one area in particular I did appreciate is his subject on prayer. He says:
To know God as the Master and bestower of all good things, who invites us to request them of him, and still not go to him and not ask of him—this would be of as little profit as for a man to neglect a treasure, buried and hidden in the earth, after it had been pointed out to him.
We are in the presence of not only the answer to every question but the originator of the reason for the question also. I find that I allow myself (willingly at times) to get sidetracked by plans, stress, activities that serve no benefit, or apathy. The more I pray the more I find myself thanking God for the permission to speak to Him. I really believe we miss the fact that this permission is not a given. What rock is brought before His presence save a little rock resting on the Gospel? Who is the recipient of interceding save those found in Christ? What offspring derives pleasure in saying ‘Our Father’ save His on inheritance?
In prayer I find that God has done the setting apart, I need to only set my mind apart from any doubt that He has done it. In prayer I am reminded that I need help and there is why the admonition is to ‘pray without ceasing.’ Prayer is above all an act of faith. Where feelings and results (or waiting for results) is less important than embracing the truth that God is really listening. And perhaps secondary to His listening is the more important point that He speaks.
There is a quiet place, far from the rapid pace
Where God can soothe my troubled mind.
Sheltered by tree and flower, there in my quiet hour
with Thee all cares are left behind.
Whether a garden small, or on a mountain tall,
new strength and courage there I find.
Then from this quiet place, I go
prepared to face
a new day with love for all mankind.
(written by Ralph Carmichael)