Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Prayer: To be properly formed

Intercoastal Waterway at Calabash, NC

The primary purpose of prayer is not to get God to do what you want God to do but to be properly formed.  (Brian Zahnd, Out of Ur)

Do you agree with this statement?  Do we think of prayer in that light?

I wonder sometimes if we think of prayer as a gumball machine - put in our request and out pops our wish. Don't get me wrong, I do think there is a part of prayer that is lifting up our concerns and asking for God's intervention.  Sometimes, though, I wonder if we (if I) only use prayer for this purpose.

According to Brian Zahnd, this isn't the main reason God has given us the gift of prayer.  Prayer is a means by which God can form us, can transform us.

I have heard people discuss the idea of what to bring to God in prayer.   I hear comments like, "I wouldn't  take that to God -- it's too small of a concern."   or "No one should pray about things like parking places and test scores."  I think we should bring to God our hearts.  If a parking space or a test score is heavy on our hearts, we should bring it to God.  We should do so, though, knowing that God may form us, changing what is important to us.  We may not get the parking space, but we may start to notice the homeless person who is standing next to it, and be moved to help.

The primary purpose of prayer is formation.  Knowing that, go now and pray, in grateful anticipation of what God will do.



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