Beloved in Christ Jesus,
There are times in all our lives as Christians when we only pay lip service to prayer. We hold back. We encounter and sometimes even seek out noisy or appealing distractions. Our interest in prayer begins to atrophy and wane. We lack the umph for praying we seem to possess with ease when we are interested in and especially zealous for a person or a just cause.
At this point, instead of seeking the presence…and the mind…and the heart…and the wisdom…and the will…and the knowledge…and the agapé of our LORD God, we tend toward thoroughgoing idealism. In this position, we can miss the mark, if only by “just that much”.
With this tiny bit of background, I am going to take a rather tentative step in sharing some of my philosophy of prayer. I guess this will take shape as a series of articles. Please bear with me as we begin this exploration. Along the way, there will be encouragement, admonition, pleading, illustrations, inspiration, and (hopefully) enlivenment/rekindling of our Praying with Fire lives.
Where do we start? I submit that a position of humility puts us in a place of extraordinary potential. We Christians probably are at our most powerful when kneeling, not only or not just physically, but especially ontologically. That is kneeling with our whole hearts, mind, souls, strengths. Living beings. Humble before the sight of the LORD. Be-ing before the LORD as our true selves. Dependent. Contingent. Broken. Willful. Sin-soaked. Repentant.
With that in view let us use (with our whole hearts, minds, souls, and strengths) the prayer of General Confession from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men: We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable.
Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Grace and peace,
©2012 Fr. Michael Trent Shaw
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