Monday, February 28

Quotable: Superstitious prayers

RODNEY CLAPP:
...faithful prayer differs from superstition in that it does not presume control. It petitions God, the power at the center of all that is, while it does not presume on God's "answer" or response. Faith­ful prayer is habitual prayer, prayer that does not occur only in crisis and does not end when a crisis is resolved. Faithful prayer is part and parcel of an ongoing relationship, a lifelong conversation, a prolonged attempt not to control God but to discern God's presence and activity in all that befalls us—the good and the bad, the desired and the undesirable. So there may be no atheists in foxholes, but prayers offered only in foxholes are superstitious prayers. 
To put this another way, faithful prayer is first of all about finding and placing ourselves in God's story, and God's story is about the redemption of the world. My prayers are too small if they focus on me. Secondarily, though importantly, prayer is about our personal, individual needs and desires. If this is so, faithful prayer certainly may ask for healing, but it does not ask only for healing. It seeks wisdom to see how Christ is reflected in circumstances—and not just a triumphal Christ but a suffering Christ, a Christ who underwent pain and want before he attained glory. Faithful prayer, then, asks not merely for healing but for patience and discernment and continuing faithfulness. ~ Christian Century
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