Thursday, May 8, 2008

Formulas Are for Babies

There is a scripture that long confounded and disturbed me. How is it possible? Is it even practical?

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"

A few short words that contain so much to contemplate. Even though I would love to address each part of this interesting and challenging scripture, due to the limited time and purpose of this space, I will limit myself to the challenge to "pray without ceasing".

After many years of struggle over this concept I finally came to understand that it is not the challenge that has me confused and wondering; it was my conceptualization of what prayer was.

Perhaps like many Christians, I knew that prescription for prayer: Head bowed, hands clasped, eyes closed, beginning with "My Father" and ending with "Amen". That is how prayer is done; at least that is the prayer that has been modeled for me for years and years.

So often the reality of scripture breaks down our preconceptions and shakes our comfort zones. Once again, scripture tells us to do something that doesn't fit into our definition much less our experience.

If prayer is a formula it is impractical to do it unceasingly. If prayer is a conversation doing it unceasingly is almost natural.

Carry on a conversation with your God throughout this week. He has been longing to spend some quality time with you!

1 comment:

Jeanie said...

Was it Smith Wiggleswworth who said, "I don't pray long, but I don't go long without praying"? That would change the notion of prayer ministry throughout the Church, I would think.