Wednesday, 31 October 2012

"make my prayer pray"

"My prayer-bird was cold--would not away,

Although I set it on the edge of the nest.

Then I bethought me of the story old--

Love-fact or loving fable, thou know'st best--

How, when the children had made sparrows of clay,

Thou mad'st them birds, with wings to flutter and fold:

Take, Lord, my prayer in thy hand, and make it pray.
    -George MacDonald (Diary of an Old Soul p. 113)
image a little blurry but still beautiful..........KIND OF LIKE MY PRAYERS.

I've been reading Philip Yancy's Prayer, Does it Make Any Difference?  And I'm grateful that he begins with the same questions I do about prayer. Admittedly, if I spent less time reading about prayer, and actually just doing it, I'd certainly learn a lot more.  Isn't is always easier to think about doing something, rather than just doing it?

I don't always pray to get my prayers answered.  I don't pray because I'm trying to speak his promises into fruition.  I don't pray because I'm always confident that it changes the course of things in my life or the lives of others.   While these admissions may raise eye-brows,  I'm just speaking from my heart.  I believe that He hears my prayers. I do not question that God is all-powerful and His will ultimately prevails at all times, I simply don't understand yet, the role my prayers have in all of that.

I pray mostly because I can't help it -- my soul calls out to the One who knows me best.  I crave intimacy with Him.  I long to be known and understood, even in those places deep within my own being that I do not understand myself.  Also, I long to know and understand Him --Prince of Peace, Perfect Love, Heavenly Daddy, Mighty Warrior, Creator of All, Keeper of my heart.  

I pray because I love God and because He loved me first.  I want to be with Him.  When I'm tucked close to Him I know I'm safe, secure and no forces can stand against me.  My heart feels like it's praying all the time -- even without words.  Usually without words.  

I understand Macdonald's plea:
"look deep, yet deeper, in my heart, and there, beyond where I can feel, read thou the prayer."                                                   (Diary of An Old Soul p.114) 

I think I sometimes have a skewed view of what prayer "should" look like, or sound like.  I get thinking about what "effective" prayer is -- stuck in a rut where my imagination is imprisoned.  It seems ludicrous that my mind narrows when I think about how I should talk to God.  Shouldn't my thoughts expand....out past all the known universes....out into the farthest expanses of human imagination -- AND THERE, MEET GOD?

I love the words of Nicole Nordeman:
           "Oh, Great God, be small enough to hear me now."
                  (from her beautiful song Small Enough) 

There is much more I'd like to say.  But perhaps right now, instead, I will pray. 

photos and text (except citations) © melody armstrong

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