November 30, 2011

Spiritual Disciplines XLI: To Whom Are We Speaking?

To Whom do we speak when we pray and where is He? How we answer these questions directly affects how we go about our prayer life, doesn't it? We often hold confused understandings of how and where and they probably should be clarified to some extent.

Where Are You Praying and To Whom?

Although I feel my prayers are often one-sided monologue towards God I know that they are not. It is often that I feel I am just screaming at the sky with my neighbors looking at me as if I am nuts (perhaps I am?). I now understand that this is a failure on my behalf to (1) see that God speaks and does so in a manner I may not recognize and (2) realize that I am often too blind to the spiritual things because this world has a way of distracting me from what matters.

Who Guides My Prayer?

My previous prayer life had seen me asking God for what I wanted and I prayed accordingly. I figured I knew better about what was good for me and in my best interest. I see a bit clearer now and know that I do not know what is best for me and tend to be a little more introspective when praying. I also pray in a more ambiguous and nebulous manner at times. When I need to pray with surgical pinpoint precision I will but I no longer try to “hedge” God in to what I think is best.

Prayers Should Be Relational Not Reactive 

My prayers are indeed based more on or from God’s initiatives in my life, at least the one’s I can recognize. When I cannot recognize God working in my life I pray for that also. I pray that He opens my eyes to the things I cannot see that He can. The sins of omission or the failures to feel the way I should. We all as humans have a tendency to attempt to cross a line into a state of omniscience where we cannot really go anyway. People must recognize their limitations and pray according to those limitations or there will always be glaring errors in our spiritual lives caused by our own ingrained sin nature that makes us blind to them.

Remaining "In Chirst"

The Old Testament writings tell us that Israel had frequently been spoken of as the vine which God loved and tended. But over and over again, waywardness and corruption had made God’s people barren (Isaiah 5:1–7). Now it is Jesus who is the real vine, the Chosen One from God. I abide in Him being following His commands and living them out. To abide in Him and be in His vine is to produce the same fruit that He produced. They are the fruits of the Spirit, fruits of holiness and if we do not abide in Him we are cut off and die. A vine that is an offshoot of the main vine that does not produce must be cut off and thrown into the fire. We must stay connected to Him in the vine and He has told us the main way to do this is through prayer.

The Mystery of Christ In Us
How It Effects How We Pray

Paul’s great definition of a Christian was “a person in Christ” The phrase “in Christ” or its equivalent is used at least 172 times in Paul’s epistles. Paul believed that in all His dealings with humanity God had been working on a deep plan, with a secret purpose that can only be discovered by the illumination of the Spirit. Throughout his epistles he lays emphasis on the deeper element of the gospel. The distilled meaning of these references is that God’s mysterious secret which has been hidden “even from the angels,” which men have sought to probe and decipher, has now been revealed. That mystery is Christ, but more, it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory."

It is the indwelling Christ in us…me. We/I are the recipients of the mystery which is Christ dwelling in us. The clue to the whole Christian experience, the core of the gospel, is that Christ, by whom and through whom all things were created lives in us by the Holy Spirit in a relational manner and by prayer and contemplation of Him we remain in Him and He in us.

Ephesians tells us:

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. ~Ephesians 4:1-6

If He is Father of all, who is over all, through all and in all...including us. If He is speaking to us are we waiting to hear the answer from the right quadrant or area in our lives? I guess that answer depends on the listener doesn't it?

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