Spiritual disciplines are the choices we make to nurture and support the Life of God emerging within us and to resist becoming captive to the ways we can distort the power of this life.

- Dallas Willard

August 2014

 

“Why pray when God already knows… ?” I wondered when he would ask. He’s like that. And now that he is 16, the questions are coming more frequently. It’s not cynicism; at least not yet. He’s truly searching for his own faith and struggling with the automaticity of religion he experienced in America last year and here in Chiang Mai among missionaries. “Numbing,” is the word he used.

 

Maybe the deeper question is really, “Why pray?” God knowing or not knowing has little to do with why we pray. Too often prayer functions as a means of telling God what we want and ask him to participate in our agenda. Sure, we don’t like to admit it, but questions like, ‘why would God allow…?’ betray our deeper intent.

 

We pray because Jesus asked us to and because we believe it matters somehow. We pray because we want to relate to God both speaking our heart and listening to His. We pray to connect with Him so that we learn to trust… Him.

 

I read Crabb’s Papa Prayer a few years ago. It messed up my prayer life. Instead of confirming my prayer life, which apparently was more self-indulgent masquerading as spiritual disciplines, Crabb challenged me to consider to whom I was really praying. Sadly, I realised how often I pray to a god of my own making. So, I stopped praying… at least to my imaginings of god. It’s not been an easy road back into a ‘life of prayer’ but it has been consistent as much as it has been challenging. The good news is, my desire to connect with God is taking a different shape than I imagined it would. I pray the Psalms more and find myself listening more than talking.

 

I pray… listening, waiting, groaning, and trusting.

 

And I pray my son (the one asking the questions) finds his own rhythm of connecting with God that sustains him…

 

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