“Our experience of prayer is often like a house of mirrors, reflecting our hearts back to us in all sorts of broken and inaccurate ways. We can pray for decades without recognizing how those mirrors blind us to the truth. . . . Prayers can be messy. For those of us who grew up in the church, or who have been Christians for a long time, prayer can also be so ‘normal’ that we don’t even pay attention to how we pray. We just do it (or don’t).”- Kyle Strobel
In the Interlude (“An Invitation to Return to Prayer the Lord’s Way”) of Where Prayer Becomes Real, Kyle Strobel pauses before moving on to the second part of the book. Here he talks about what happens when we take on the biblical training of prayer. God calls us to step into prayers that are not our own. As a result, these prayers shape our training. Yet, praying in this manner may feel odd and foreign. Maybe even inauthentic.
However, our culture tends not to favor this form of apprenticeship much anymore. Instead, we favor originality more than imitation. Something Kyle sees as a deeply broken condition.
Above all, this biblical training of prayer isn’t robotic repetition. Rather, taking on another’s words opens our hearts. Opens our hearts to learn the rhythm, movement, and lyrics of a new song God’s forming us to sing. Hence, Kyle explains:
“Familiarity can blind us to what we are doing in prayer or what is happening in our praying that we are barely aware of. This can lead us to avoid prayer because we might not know what we are supposed to be doing in the first place. Prayer is one of the most fundamental practices of the Christian, but also one of the least explored in the Christian community. . . . prayer is a topic few of us want to talk about openly, yet it profoundly shapes our lives.”
Today’s questions: When has your experience of prayer seemed like a house of mirrors? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Infantile fantasies – God on our terms”