A cosmic vending machine?

By Dave Henning / February 8, 2023

“Those who live for experiences [with contemplative prayer] will find themselves relating to God as a cosmic vending machine, banging on the glass when the spiritual item they want is stuck beyond their reach.  Contemplative prayer, however, is allowing your soul to be kissed by God in ways that go beyond what we can feel.”- Rich Villodas

Rich Villodas continues Chapter 4 of Good and Beautiful and Kind with his definition of a mystic.  Hence, a mystic as simply someone who takes the radically available presence of God seriously.  Above all, the author stresses, what matters most is that contemplative prayer produce a marked difference in your life.

However, Rich cautions, our false self serves as one of the great hinderances of love.  Because our false  self = a constructed identity that in some way attempts to play God.  In addition, Pastor Villodas underscores, it’s possible to pray in such a manner that we never confront our false self.  Therefore, we truly need contemplative prayer.

Hence, Rich counsels:

“In contemplative prayer we entrust ourselves to God, giving the Holy Spirit space to reveal the inconsistencies within, the intense imaginary conversations stored in our minds, and the sins we need forgiveness from — all important for loving well. . . .  But until we give ourselves consistently to this work to confront our own demons, we will project them back out into the world and fail to see that some demons in the world are a reflection of ourselves. . . .  And when we can reject illusions of ourselves , we can live with greater discernment as we engage the world.”

In conclusion, Rich notes, through contemplative prayer the by-products of impure motives, repressed anger, unprocessed pain, and stubbornness emerge.  This revelation must lead us to repentance and humility.  For we need God to work on us.  Thus, when you open yourself to God, He has space to work in your soul.

Today’s question: What Bible verses keep you from seeing God as a cosmic vending machine?  Please share

Tomorrow’s blog: “Calm presence and reactivity”

About the author

Dave Henning

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