There aren’t very many hotter topics in some religious circles than prayer. I feel it is only appropriate to mention that I did not take this topic due to any axes that required grinding but because a) the Lectionary had us looking at prayer; and b) due to its heat, prayer isn’t discussed as often as I think it should be.
One of the two most pernicious errors about prayer is that there is some special place or time or attitude of mind or . . . whatever that must be in place before prayer can commence. The other error is equally split between the notion that prayer is about asking God for stuff and that prayer is never asking God for stuff.
Knox Presbyterian Prayer
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Prayer
Prayer is a tricky thing; it is the primary way we work on our relationship with God. This is not to say that we “work” on that relationship the same way we work on a fence but rather we work on it the same way we work on our relationships with all of our friends. We work on it simply by being friends. We would never talk about “hanging out” as work (at least I hope we wouldn’t) but the time we spend at it is what takes our friendships to the next level.
There are some things where so-called quality time can be equivalent to quantity time but I would put it to you that relationship building generally isn’t one of those. Sure we can make friends for a lifetime in the crucible of a crisis but the vast majority of our strong and enduring relationships are based on time spent together . . . the greater quantity of time the higher quality of the relationship.
Let me know what you think by adding a comment or dropping me a line.
- Date: September 30, 2012
- Liturgical Sunday: Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
- RCL Scripture: Psalm 124; Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50
- Sermon Title: Let’s take another look at wisdom
PS As always if you want downloadable versions of these or other sermons, click here
Picture credit: macisaguy
Ah yes, the beloved prayer as gumball machine, apply your quarter in the approved manner and get your product. If that doesn’t happen then complain to management. I appreciated your emphasis on prayer as the building block of relationship. I think that’s a more helpful mental model to use when trying to get away from prayer as the grocery list of all my wants and ‘needs’ and into something more substantial and fulfilling.
Thanks for this. It was helpful!