Friday, May 15, 2015


The Tyranny of You

Lynne Baab writes some thoughts about using the Lord's Prayer in your devotional life. I am fascinated by how her examination of the text evolves. One example:
I’m struck, right off, by the simplicity of this prayer. In a consumer age, when we are assaulted by ceaseless advertisements designed to create desire, this prayer is lean and spare, focused on essential needs. These intercessions, recommended by Jesus, make me want to be sure my prayers are focused on what really matters – what I need – and not on what the consumer culture tells me I want.

Two spiritual practices that have helped me detach from the consumer culture the most are Sabbath keeping and fasting.* Keeping a Sabbath gives me a day off every week from striving, from pushing hard, from believing I am essential and necessary
It's not that Sabbath Keeping and fasting are bad, but how do you get there from the text? She seems to impose her agenda onto something barely related. Then there is this:
What are the spiritual practices in your life that help you acknowledge and express your need for God? Which spiritual practices help you take steps to forgive others? In what setting do you pray most readily for forgiveness?
Wait?! Isn't prayer itself a spiritual practice? Why does prayer lead to a discussion of spiritual practices, why not focus on prayer itself?

Look, I don't want to ride to hard on this post for it also has one of the most necessary and greatest statements about prayer I have read in a while:
The Lord’s Prayer also indicates the high priority Jesus puts on forgiveness. In an age when many church worship services no longer include a confession of sin, we need to make time in our personal prayer life to acknowledge our sin to God.
Amen and Amen.

But let me get back to the point I was trying to make. So many tech devices these days are considered bad because people have a hard time figuring out how to use them. The functionality is not the problem, either the interface is hard to understand or the material explaining how to use the interface is not well written, or in many cases people are just unwilling to try becasue they feel intimidated. There is a hubris to that that amazes me. An engineer put in countless hours trying to figure out how to make something that does something useful and labor saving. So why are we unwilling to put in a little effort to learn how to use it and avoid years of effort not using it?

So often we approach our life with God this way. Jesus said, "This is how to prayer." That's pretty doggone important. Why can we not focus on learning to pray rather than crowding up the topic with our own agendas? The Lord of all is teaching us how to talk to Him, is that not important enough in its own right? My perspective on the matter just should not be important in light of such a thing; His perspective is all that matters.

Maybe we should JUST pray.


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