We only can pray for what we have experienced

Here is a unique thought around prayer:

“God seems to plant within us the desire  to pray for what God already wants to give us, and even better, God has already begun to give to us!  We are always just seconding the motion, but the first motion is always and forever God’s.  The fact that you prayed a all means God just started giving to you a second ago.”

I read these words after an early morning walk east down Arch street in Philadelphia.  Looking at the buildings and the city starting to awaken, the words of a theologian whose name escapes me rang true.  ”If God could have saved man without Creation, He would never have made Creation.”   I think the same holds true for our lives – our individual lives are the ONLY means of salvation, of creating a new person.  Discovering that creation is one of the utmost joys of lifes and one of life’s most difficult journeys.

For me, over this past week, much of that struggle has been around how do I pray for NewChurch LIVE, for this church?  To pray to be Andy Stanley and North Point – peerless preaching, huge numbers, immense energy – appears egotistical and self serving.  To not pray is patently a cop out.  So what does one pray for especially when it is something so important?

The prayer then ends up being one of wishing God’s blessing on this endeavor – that we reach and serve countless folks.  Hopefully in saying it I do not limit God to numbers – a capitalist habit of answering “how many?” that often does not belong as central to conversations around mission.   But I do believe the intention to humbly serve behind a prayer for growth is maybe the best spirit of prayer, right now, that I can offer.

And if Richard Rohr’s words cited above are right, that prayer is God’s prayer, AND we have actually started to experience it.  How else would we know what we are praying for?  That does not mean we will inevitably hit our objectives and goals.  There no doubt will be many, many necessary failures leading this group in unanticipated directions.  But can we surrender up our view of how things must play out and allow God to do His work?  Knowing that our prayers, at their best are his prayers too?  Knowing that the only way there is this journey, as it is, right now, here today?

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