"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Notes on Prayer; Does It Make Any Difference by Philip Yancey

48.2    God is intimate because he is infinite, as air is intimate with my lungs. If he were vast as the cosmos without being infinite, he would be unapproachable.
Father, your constant presence fills my life with praise and gratitude, even in those moments when you seem remote. I sit, fingers poised over the keyboard, unable to verbalize what I feel toward you, but I don’t have to feel anything for my mind to know, and my spirit to believe you are here. Thanks for faith beyond sensing with my human faculties, and understanding beyond the reasoning ability of my human mind.
48.3 The hard part about relating to God in prayer is shaking the human habit of dishonesty. Any pretense completely closes off our communication with the eternal One, so I must examine every thought, every word, to ensure its truth.
Though I want to approach God prepared, that does not consist of rehearsing my thoughts as a lawyer rehearses his case. Preparation for prayer is simply reminding myself who God is, and who I am in relation to him. Then I verbalize as the thoughts appear in my mind; no thoughts, no words. Such wordless prayer is not “thoughtless” prayer.
I can illustrate wordless prayer by comparing it to a popcorn popper. Switch the power on and the blower begins kicking the corn around in the popping chamber even before the heating element gets hot. The corn may jump toward the outlet, but the air-flow won’t carry it out of the mouth until it gets hot enough to explode into a fluffy, white morsel of popped corn.
“Thoughtless” prayer, rather than wordless, is memorized or habitual, formal prayer. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing either, unless it becomes meaningless repetition as in a mantra. Calling repeatedly on God can be a heartfelt plea.
I used to struggle with wrong or “improper” thoughts while praying, but now realize they are not a problem. Instead of trying to filter it out of the prayer, I simply give the wrong thought to God, repent of it if needed and thank him for his forgiveness. Satan must get really mad when I steal his thunder like that.

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