A ‘stained-glass’ image of prayer

By Dave Henning / July 2, 2017

“Countless people . . . have such a ‘stained-glass’ image of prayer that they fail to recognize what they are experiencing as prayer and so condemn themselves for not praying.”- Richard Foster, Prayer (1992)

In  Chapter 11 (“Let Your Talking Flow Into Praying”) of The Me I Want to Be, John Ortberg asks, “How is your prayer life?”  Hence, John wonders if you measure the state of your prayer life by how:

  • long you pray or how often
  • many people you’re praying for
  • much faith you’re praying with
  • many prayers get answered

Yet, Pastor Ortberg asserts, your belief in God means you’ve already entered into dialogue (prayer) with Him.  Because, when you believe in God, you believe He’s always present and listening to what you say.

However, Pastor Ortberg observes, we often hide our real heart when speaking to someone or in front of someone.  As John describes, there’s a dynamic at work in your body that manages what you say in the light of that person’s presence.

In contrast, the reality of God’s presence means we never speak or act in His absence.  Furthermore, at times God allows us to feel as if we’re apart from Him.  John offers his thinking on why God allows this:

” . . . God doesn’t want forced compliance.  God is so immense that if he were ‘too visible,’ people would give forced compliance without expressing their heart.  So God makes it possible, in enormous love, for us to live as if he were not there.”

That, in turn, allows us to shift away from a ‘stained-glass’ image of prayer.

Today’s question:  Have you ever envisioned a ‘stained-glass’ image of prayer?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “God – the constant gracious listener”

About the author

Dave Henning

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