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“Lord, Teach Us to Pray” Part IV

The longings, desires, and yearnings of our heart propel us to the God Jesus calls Father. As our God woos us, we discover that we are being changed, not God. Perhaps we did not realize that our energy was, perhaps, an attempt to change God … but …

… as we follow Jesus’ structure for prayer and pray “Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come,” we realize, often ever so gradually, that, indeed, we are praying for our own transformation. We are praying that God would work the hallowing of God’s name in me and the coming of God’s kingdom in me.

butterfly for ordinary lifeTo pray this prayer – that is, to continue asking, seeking, and knocking, and to let those yearnings and longings be guided by “Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come” – we must let go.

As we let go, our faith strengthens. If we are blessed not to get what we ask, we are left with only faith and faith alone. Faith that God is, even when there is no response or, at least, not the response I thought I needed. Though it does not feel like it, this is a great grace because …

This strengthened faith bears the fruit of freedom … freedom from the need to make the world as I want it … freedom to release myself into the world God is making. This faith and freedom bear the fruit of peace. Peace bears the fruit of joy.

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In this place of only faith and faith alone, we begin to realize only one thing is needed: God’s supply to live in God’s kingdom. More on this in the next post.

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Please engage Luke 11:1-13. See our translation in the first post on “Lord, Teach Us to Pray.” (“Engage” = tell God your response and listen for God’s response to you). [If you are new to our blog, a description of our method of “engaging,” which is a method for reading and praying with the Bible, other literature, and life itself, can be found here.].

Grace and Peace,

Jim

More to come …

About jclark

The Rev. Jim Clark is the Rector of the Episcopal Parish of St. Barnabas on the Desert in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Comments

  1. Don Bivens says:

    I like Jim’s language about finding a place, internally, into which we can release ourselves to enjoy and engage the world as God has made it. For me, that is not inconsistent with striving to make the world a better place. For me, the quiet, inner peace of which Jim speaks is what nutures our “strength and courage” to “love and serve” “with gladdness and singleness of heart” — which are the words of empowerment by which we are released from every worship service. I like to end my prayers the same way, feeling replenished with strength and courage to love and serve the world as we find it. Thanks Jim for helping us reflect about this important stuff.

  2. Resting in the Peace of Unknowing allows me to sense the Will of God and receive His Patience in my lack of patience. Unknowing frees me from my self and helps to get the sense of humility and the journey to meekness.
    For me, joy and peace travel together in the beauty of Holiness. Last Saturday I spent time in the high country of Yosemite and marveled at the beauty of God’s silent beauty. Thank You Father.

  3. Thank you….this post definitely speaks to me. I look forward to reading more.

  4. Elizabeth Garas says:

    (As I pondered this reading, I was led to engage the word “faith”).

    As I journey on the way, I am constantly having to decide whether to place my faith in a multitude of persons and situations. With God, however, I have no excuse to doubt or believe Him. He has given me the ingredients to build faith and even told me how to mix them. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. (Rom 10:17). Failing to study the Word of God will leave me weakened in discernment and in my faith.

    Father Jim quoted the clearest definition of faith from Hebrews 11:1. This verse says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” This is great faith, the faith of God. Part III of this series suggested that great faith puts a demand on the word of God and pulls it into existence. In other words, great faith brings God’s intangible, abstract promises into tangible reality. Great faith doesn’t hesitate to act on what it believes, with the assurance that it shall receive what it is seeking.

    As I further meditated upon the concept of faith and the degrees of faith, I thought of Abraham, who was a model of great faith. Great faith believes when human reason for hope is gone. Great faith strengthens itself by praising and giving Glory to God.

    Great faith has been described as pure faith—faith that’s not defiled by doubt, unbelief and fear. We are all given a measure of faith, which comes by hearing the Word of God. It’s up to us, I believe, to purify our hearts so that it can grow there unabated—-to “let go” of the doubt, unbelief, fear.

    So I ask myself, “How much faith do I have…a great faith or a little faith”? And when God’s response leaves me with “sola fide”, faith alone, is my faith great enough to let go of my hoped for response? Yes, such tested and strengthened faith frees me to be at peace which brings joy. Thanks be to God!

  5. craig weatherup says:

    Progress? I think so. These posts offer me so much to reflect on as to the core of my faith, and the meaning and purpose of my life. Jim’s constant referance, for as long as i can remember, to being fully present to the Lord who is already there-in everything- allows me to at least attempt to make some progress towards the invited transformation. God being “immediately present” and “fully understanding” is a new thought [for me], that I love. It calls me to action.-now.

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