Sunday, October 27, 2013

Let's pray now!

I don't have very much to say these days that's bloggable. A drowning man doesn't talk much. Well, not drowning exactly… I'm exaggerating. But learning to walk on water is tough, and I can't even swim!
I found this cartoon on the OrthoDixie blog, and it shows visually something that I practice and sometimes preach, "Let's pray now!"

Early in my life as a Christian I'd meet people who'd say things like, "I'll pray for you," or "Please pray for me."

I thought the first was a kind of pious ‘put on’, and I'd say "Thanks!" and I always felt very uncomfortable with the second and hastily responded, "Of course, I will!" and then I'd just forget about it, like the guy in the cartoon. Clergy and pious old ladies usually said the first, and ‘humbler than thou’ wannabees usually said the second. Occasionally both the offer and the request were genuine, but rarely.

One day, I just sat up and decided to do what the Word of God says, "Pray all the time, asking for what you need, praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion" (Ephesians 6:18 Jerusalem Bible).

One thing that meant to me was this, I never again (or almost never again) told someone I'd pray for them. If someone needed to be prayed for, I'd just drop everything, including the pretense, and say, "Okay, let's pray now!" and start praying right then and there.

This readiness came with not a few surprises. Some people actually wanted to pray and wanted to be prayed for. Others simply excused themselves and so much as said, "Don't bother!" with an embarassed grin.

Being ready to pray at the drop of a hat (or yarmulke) is a very good way to increase your faith, because you have to rely on God to give you the words—and that's how prayer is supposed to be. If you haven't thought about this before, try it out. It has the same wonderful and incredible results as wearing a smile does. It catches people off guard and disarms them, and you too, and puts you in a place where, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, faith becomes possible.

The only time I express something like "I'm praying for you" is in a letter or email, and I am doing just that while I am writing it. Never the future tense, not even in a letter. Always the present. Always in His presence. He's with us here, with me while I type these words, with you as you read them. And in this written tabernacle I can ask your prayers for Romanós the sinner, and I can know that if only for a moment you're now bringing my cause before the Father, because that's all it takes, and that's all that's possible.

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