Bishop C. E. Patterson, Bewitched
Is prayer the stranger in your life that you always wished were your friend? I think any confessions about prayer that I might want to offer here would be met with a yawn … we all struggle with prayer. Well, I mean we struggle with a certain kind of prayer. We are familiar with the ongoing sentence prayers through our day, an important part of our ongoing conversation with Abba. We are familiar with the standardized prayers before meals and before going to sleep. We are even familiar with the gut-wrenching prayers that arise from crisis. But to be passionate about prayer itself … and not passionate simply because we want something so badly … that kind of prayer is a stranger to many.
Richard Foster writes, “All who have walked with God have viewed prayer as the main business of thier lives…pray was no little habit tacked onto the periphery of their lives; it was their lives.” I haven’t gotten there yet. I made my decision for Christ just over 30 years ago. I feel regret that I am no further advanced in my spiritual life than I am now. Perhaps I am not alone in that feeling. Foster also writes, “God always meets us where we are and slowly moves us along into deeper things.” I am thankful for His mercy and grace. Since I cannot rewrite the past, I hope to redirect the future, with God’s help.
Praying often does not equal dependence on prayer. Nor does it equal spiritual depth. So in my thoughts on prayer it is not necessarily my goal to move into praying more, but into PRAYING more. If we compiled the books written on the subject of prayer, we would have an encyclopedic collection of epic proportion! Have you read one that was especially helpful? Prayer is fascinating … intriguing … mysterious … simple … elusive … effective. I look forward this week to spending some time writing about prayer. If you’re reading Celebration of Discipline along with me, I’d welcome your remarks about his chapter.
In what way has prayer been your friend … and in what way has it been a stranger?
***Links & Thoughts ***
I was looking through some You Tube videos a few days ago and came across the sermon segment above. I really liked what Patterson said so I decided to link to it. And I liked the way he said it. Then in Wal-Mart while looking at the Christian music, there was a CD with a Patterson sermon and some songs. I don’t know anything about him, but he is well-known enough to have a CD out at Wal-Mart.
Today was a roller coaster … most of the things I had “to do” today didn’t get done. But all the things I did were great. The group that is here has worked so hard today. They have such energy! Most of the Mennonites here are young people from Lancaster County, PA. They are very skilled at what they do, even at a young age. I am enjoying getting to know these precious people.
Tonight there was a meeting at First Presbyterian Church of ministers and relief workers in the Eastern side of the county. It was a very impressive meeting as we all talked about how we should be helping one another, amassing work orders and sharing them, and offering to assist one another in the home rebuilding. It was a very ecumenical spirit. I think we all agreed that if someone cannot live in their house, they do not care if a Baptist, Presbyterian, Mennonite, or member of the church of Christ helps them rebuild. Eighteen months after the storm we continue to find people in significant need.
Big news in today’s The Mississippi Press was the announcement that a consortium of agencies plan to build 100 houses in 100 days. These houses will be built in the neighborhoods directly North of our church building.
If you haven’t been keeping up with Wade Tannehill’s series on prayer, you should go back and read each post. Yesterday I printed each one out along with the comments. It’s a fantastic series and the interaction is great as well.