“Praying is no easy matter. It demands a relationship in which you allow someone other than yourself to enter into the very center of your person, to see there what you would rather leave in darkness, and to touch there what you would rather leave untouched. Why would you really want to do that?”
~ Henri Nouwen ~
Praying might not be easy but we can be more confident in our prayers if we are praying according to God’s Word. When I let the Word of God along with the Holy Spirit reveal what He wants me to deal with in my life He equips me to follow through in obedience. If I try to go into my heart without the help of God’s truth and His instruction I might tend to dwell too much on me and not enough on God’s truth and what He can do with the sin in my heart. I’m going to share another quote about prayer in response to the quote above.
This comes from Bonhoeffer’s Life Together ~
“The Scripture meditation leads to prayer. We have already said that the most promising method of prayer is to allow oneself to be guided by the word of the Scriptures, to pray on the basis of the word of Scripture. In this way we shall not become victims of our own emptiness. Prayer means nothing else but the readiness and willingness to receive and appropriate the Word, and, what is more, to accept it in one’s personal situation, particular tasks, decisions, sins, and temptations. What can never enter the corporate prayer of the fellowship may here be silently made known to God. According to a word of Scripture we pray for the clarification of our day, for preservation from sin, for growth in sanctification, for faithfulness and strength in our work. And we may be certain that our prayer will be heard, because it is a response to God’s Word and promise. Because God’s Word has found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, all prayers that we pray conforming to this Word are certainly heard and answered in Jesus Christ.
It is one of the particular difficulties of meditation that our thoughts are likely to wander and go their own way, toward other persons or to some events in our life. Much as this may distress and shame us again and again, we must not lose heart and become anxious, or even conclude that meditation is really not something for us. When this happens it is often a help not to snatch back our thoughts convulsively, but quite calmly to incorporate into our prayer the people and the events to which our thoughts keep straying and thus in all patience return to the starting point of the meditation.”
Boenhoffer’s language might be “dated” for our ears but the truth here is so good to read. I especially appreciate this last paragraph. We can pray about what our minds wander to and then get back to the point of our prayer and the scripture we are meditating on. However hard prayer may be for us we should never abandon it.
There are more In Other Words contributors at Fruit in Season…
ht: Life Together. Copyright 1954 by Harper Collins Publishers.