Sunday’s Message by Thursday
Neil filled the pulpit this week as Pastor Stephen was traveling.
Neil spoke on prayer citing Matthew 6, the Sermon on the Mount. He spoke about the hypocrites who make a big show of prayer and the about praying quietly in your own private place.
It made me think of times when I was younger, how I would go outside because the house was always full, full of life to be sure, but also nosy brothers, a mother with commands like practice your piano or run the dust mop. The house was full of noise. I would go to a great cottonwood tree and sit under it or climb into it. Sometimes I wouldn’t pray so much as sit. Once my prayer turned into a conversation with an imaginary friend. A nearby irrigator heard my conversation and shook his head. He gave me a wide berth.
God called me into a relationship early in my life, He called through prayer. I never worried about the content of my prayers only that I was praying to the One person who could do something about every problem, joy and heartache. He could also lead me in a different path. He could lead me according to His will.
I never thought of prayer as something showy. We prayed as a family at meal times and I surprised myself one year by asking not to join in. My father raised an eyebrow and asked why. I told him I thought it was a rote prayer and it didn’t feel like God was present. He laughed and said God was present, but I could pray silently. In the same way I always had a bit of trouble in the unison prayer of confession during the Sunday service. I’m over that now. Sitting on the pew next to the faithful made mince-meat of that particular arrogance.
Earlier in the week our Bible study listened to a message by Francis Chan. He spoke also of hypocrites and our lukewarm prayers. He spoke on Isaiah 58 and other passages, but what stuck me was that God hears my words, even mine.
Thank you Neil and Francis Chan.
More on Bible study tomorrow.