Friday, 5 June 2015

The Practice of Prayer - Three


There are many great people, who in the past, have had significant influence in the shaping of our society. We learn about them through the stories told about them, through their own words reordered in their writings and the traditions, laws and practices we now observe which they helped to shape. People often remark how they would really like to be able to meet them personally, to get to know them person to person; to discover for themselves what these great people were really like.

This is exactly what the "practice of prayer" is meant to do, to enable us to encounter, to meet and experience in a truly personally way, our Lord and God. In the O.T. in Exodus 33:20 it tells us that no man can see the face of God and live. But in John's gospel we read, "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known." Jo 1:18. For us to see God is impossible. But God makes it possible to encounter him through the Incarnation of Jesus. Now it is possible to meet God, face to face and to know him personally.

In the forth chapter of John's gospel, we have that beautiful account of the Samaritan woman encountering Jesus one on one. How personal and natural their meeting unfolds. The woman makes her observation of Jesus' lack of a bucket to draw water. Jesus reveals his knowledge of the reality of her life now being lived. She brings up religion questions. Jesus draws her into the true purpose of religion, to experience God's redemptive Love. 

This life changing encounter sends her off with a new purpose for her life. She is now an evangelist; Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, and see (for yourself) a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” Jo 4:28
Here we have it, the goal of the "practice of prayer" - TO SEE FOR YOURSELF 

Encounter in prayer is"

  • REAL - not just me thinking about, reading about, alone in my thoughts.
  • PERSON TO PERSON - talking with, hearing back, speaking and listening.
  • OPEN and VULNERABLE - more about the heart than the head.
  • INITIATED BY THE LORD - work of grace, given by the Lord, welcomed by us.

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