Herbert Butterfield, an Oxford historian of modern history, has stated that “prayer is the most significant factor in the shaping of history-more significant than war and diplomacy, more significant than technology and art.” (Under the Unpredictable Plant, Eugene Peterson, p. 98) When we think of the power of pray we often think of intercessory prayer as one of prayer’s powerful engines, and it is!
But as I was trying to say during Sunday’s “Prayer Warrior’s” time, prayer is more than what we usually think of: intercession, adoration, confession, supplication. Prayer is the heart and core of our relationship with God. It is communion with God. It is relationship with our Triune God. In prayer that we share our most intimate selves with God and, in turn, God shares himself with us. “Be still and know that I am God” the Psalmist said, and in all our relationships we need to learn to be still and listen. Always talking means we have a monolog with ourselves.
It is in prayer that we have a “sense,” a feeling, or a “deep knowing” of God’s presence with us. It is in prayer that we are to learn how to listen with our heart and our mind as God seeks to share with us his heart and his directions.
Amalie is my son Andrew’s cat who lives with me. She (all cats are “she’s” to me) loves to sit on my lap, sometimes to my displeasure. But maybe one of the greatest privileges that God gives to us is God’s willingness, and even God’s desire, for us to “sit in his lap” in prayer, just to be with him in silence, doing nothing but being present with God. What a privilege.
Today is a special day in my life and my family’s as today is the anniversary of Diane’s passing through the door we call death. I have been thinking and remembering the times that the two of us curled up on the sofa together, not saying a word, just being together. That is also the way we are to be with God at times. In such times we are privileged to experience the intimacy of relationship with our grace-filled God.