Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Groaning to God

Continuing the last post, here are some more thoughts on prayer.

Tell God your secrets. Show him your shame. Shout out his praises. Beg for his presence. Bring him your questions. God cares about the details of your life. Nothing is too big for him to handle, and nothing is too small for him to be concerned about.

Let joy dance on the edge of your heart. And when you need to give voice to your pain, don’t worry if you don’t know the right words to say. Open your heart up to God and his Spirit will do the rest, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will,” (Romans 8:26-27).

If the Holy Spirit himself groans when he prays, why are we so concerned with sounding articulate and eloquent to God? We don’t need the right words. We just need the right attitude.

Prayer is the process of shedding our lies, our masks, and our inhibitions, and standing in God’s presence as we really are--neither proud nor ashamed, simply accepted and loved and heard.

That’s how Job prayed. That’s how David prayed. That’s how Paul prayed. That’s how Jesus prayed. And that’s how we need to pray.

For then, in the midst of the turmoil, suddenly, taking us by surprise, comes the calm that we longed for. Peace within the storm. Within ourselves. Peace and comfort from the hand of the Spirit. A calmness and stillness that we wouldn’t have noticed unless it was surrounded by the gusts of hardship and sheets of slanted, cleansing rain that we call prayer.

God dwells there. Where all of life is sacred. All of life is worship. And where every moment can be spent dwelling in the center of a prayer.


Susanna said...

I just want to say thanks for these past two blogs. I don't have anything to add but you have ministered to my tired soul with your words and for that I say thank you.

SirMax said...

I would also like to say thank you. Over the past 2 weeks everywhere I go, everything I hear, everything I read and even my dreams have been about prayer. God does that me...when He wants to point in His direction He shouts at me from ALL angles because I'm deaf and dumb at times. Yes He has my attention now.

Anonymous said...

We met at the Blue Ridge Christian Writer's conference. I told you how I buy your book "Story" six at a time and hand them out to my children's twenty-something friends who are discouraged in their faith and disgusted with the church. I related how the results were incredible in that most of them have written me saying it was just what they needed.

You suggested I buy your "Sailing" book and I did. This is a book that I will also be handing out to all my "thirty-something, and beyond" friends. As I read it I am reminded of a quote by Red Smith who wrote, "writing is easy, just open a vein and bleed."

That is what you do in this book by your open, honest, candor. I've been using Sailing as a part of my morning devotions. When I got to the chapter about Ludicrous Love at page 67, I threw the book down and fell on my face repenting. I thought I knew how to love, but the Holy Spirit showed me how I lacked in truly loving. Thank goodness for the way you end that chapter . . . Jesus never fails. Love never fails.

Thank you again and again. And thank you for loving your family. After watching your behaviour at the conference and listening to you speak, it is obvious that you are a dedicated husband and father. I respect you above all for that.

Anonymous said...

Prayer starts with "requests"... grows to "thanks" ... moves to "praise" ... slips into groanings. Listening comes next ("I don't know how to pray, God.")
A word comes... the past two weeks, God has told me to "Pay attention!" I spoke; He heard. He speaks! I hear. Prayer! maryy