Tuesday, October 25, 2005

1. musical prayers

"The Lord takes our prayers not by number, but by weight."--John Preston (1587 - 1628).

One major difference between the animist (or pagan) and the Christian is seen in the practice of prayer. The one prays out of fear, because of imbalances of impersonal powers, impurities or weaknesses, seeking that someone else (a "professional" of sorts) intercede on his behalf. The other prays out of delight, because of weakness, dependency and because the way is open to the other person (God) who is hearing. "You shall not fear the terror by night; nor because of the arrow that flies by day;" (Ps 91:5)

David wrote, "To You who hears prayer, all flesh comes." (Ps. 65:2) and "The LORD is near all those who call on Him, all those who call on Him in truth." (Ps. 145:18). Remember that one scene in "Bruce Almighty" when Jim Carrey realizes there is more to being "God" than simply having "powers?" Suddenly his mind and ears are awash with a cacophony of sound--uncounted millions of voices whispering, talking, shouting simultaneously! Then he developes that goofy computer program to handle prayers . . .

I love that scene because it helps me to see that on one hand, people think they are God and fail to pray--and if they could be for even a moment, could not bear the responsibility of hearing alone; on the other hand, it helps me understand that though God must hear to our ears what must sound cacophonous, He hears symphonic solo. Much like the orchestra playing the rythmic strains and melodious refrains, melody and harmony flowing, pausing, rising and falling, around and around--then a single instrument wavers, hums then sings--a few beats, measures, phrases--entire movements!

Things "new to me" (or, "things I knew then forgot, so they seem like new to me"):

1. God wants to hear prayer. He does not need "alone-time", or peace and quiet the same way I do.

2. Praying without ceasing (2 Thess. 5:17) keeps me from praying out of desperation (in the same way that regular breathing keeps me from gasping).

If prayer is the hammer that breaks the glass "in case of emergencies", then God is in a box. In ongoing conversation, prayer reduces "emergencies" to an afterthought.

We are invited to pray and God has promised to hear. Great things happen because of prayer. We are commanded to pray by the One who loves us, and reminded that we show Him our love by keeping His commandments. We can "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb 4:16). Yet, believing all of that, many of us pray so little! That is most amazing of all!

Popular Posts