Last week I invited you to be in prayer for schools - educators, administrators, children, and parents - as they resume today. Since that message, I've had some excellent interaction around the idea of prayer. Just this morning I spoke with someone - a passionate prayer who believes that prayer has power - who said, "I don't really understand prayer. I don't understand how God works. If I did, I'd be God." This wasn't said as a lament. It was merely an honest acknowledgment of the limitation of human understanding when it comes to prayer, our interaction with God, and how God interacts with the world.
I've been thinking a lot about prayer over the course of this summer, not just over the past week. But this week, I've felt prompted to share some of those reflections in a Covenant Weekly series. I feel like this is a little bit dangerous because much of what I'm going to share exists in my mind in the form of things being processed, not conclusions being drawn. I ask you to engage with them as such. Allow the questions asked or thoughts being floated to prompt your own thinking and understanding of prayer. I invite your responses - in questions and comments - as we go. As we interact, may we be open to our understanding of prayer being reformed, our excitement for prayer being renewed, and our practice of prayer being reshaped.
An Invitation Into Relationship
Before we can even think about things like if prayer gets answered or questions like "Does prayer work?" or "Does prayer change things?" I've been increasingly convinced that prayer, above all else, is an invitation into relationship - specifically a love relationship.
The God of the universe invites me into a relationship in which I:
Beginning with prayer as an invitation into a love relationship is important because if this is true, prayer is not primarily transactional. (Asking and getting. Seeking answers. Trying to accomplish something.)
Think about your prayer, or lack thereof, over the past weeks. Is a loving relationship at the centre of it? If it is true that loving relationship should be at the centre of prayer, how might your praying or your posture to prayer change? Maybe think about this: if someone interacted with me the way I interact with God, would I feel as though fostering a loving relationship was their priority?
As I invited you to at the top of the message, please interact with these weekly posts. Maybe you're so far ahead of me that this has been your understanding for decades. How has this changed your prayer and how has prayer changed your relationship with God? Or maybe you think I'm missing something here and am simply off base! Let me know. You can e-mail me your thoughts at [email protected]. I look forward to reflecting on this together.