What is prayer? You'll often hear it explained as talking to God. Simple enough. So we talk to God for a couple minutes when we wake up...maybe. We talk to God just before we eat and right before we go to sleep. We really talk to God though, when we're in crisis, don't we? It's a safety net, a security blanket, the thing we go to that makes us feel like we can make it through. And so we pray politely and timidly because more than that will start to feel too emotional and raw. But the prayers you find in the Scriptures from the "giants" of our faith are anything but safe... What does that mean for us?
Remember the old cartoons where a character would suddenly have a little devil on one shoulder and a little angel on the other? That was a pretty good attempt at explaining our conscience; that part of us that makes us feel bad when we do wrong or compels us to do right. Most would argue that we all have one. We don't always listen to it, but we have one. What if we're running on inferior software though? What if there was someone a little bigger than a tiny angel on our shoulder? What if we could just turn the whole "right vs. wrong thing" over to someone else? We can, and we should.
Science has proven that multitasking is impossible. We cannot actually do two things at the same time. Granted, we can switch between two things very rapidly, but our attention can only be on one thing in a given moment. It would stand to reason that we cannot be two things at the same time, right? Enter the amazing reality that Jesus was and is both human and God at the same time. But that's impossible, right? With Jesus, impossible is nothing.
Somewhere along the line of human history we started thinking very highly of ourselves. We started to think that nothing is beyond our intellect and ability to understand-and anything that presumes to be must not be valid in the first place. God kindly considered this as He revealed Himself to us through nature, the Bible and ultimately Jesus. But there remain several components of who He is that we cannot (and maybe never will) be able to comprehend; and that's okay. In fact, that's how it should be.
There are millions of people all over the world that have based their entire understanding of life on one book, and a really old book at that. Christians will often refer to it as the word of God, but most call it the Bible. Have you ever wondered why people put so much faith in what it says? How do they know it's true and why do they think it's so important? And what makes us think it isn't just a bunch of stories made up to control the behavior of society? Is it actually from God's heart? If it is, then we have a lot of listening to do.
Too often Christians think too highly of themselves. We think we’re fit to be judge, jury andexecutioner. And because of it, we’ll often pick and choose who we’ll reach out to based onour perceived probability of them saying yes to Jesus; or we think we’re accountable for theirresponse somehow. But what matters most in the Kingdom is obedience — doing what we’resupposed to regardless of the result. We’re supposed to touch all the lives we can and leavethe rest up to them and God.
Everyone wants to make the world a better place... at least that’s what we say. Christians say it more than anyone, perhaps, but why are we so bad at actually doing it? Maybe it’s because we’ve failed to understand that God’s Kingdom is the sort of real estate that makes the real estate around it worth more. Part of what it means to call ourselves Christians is to literally improve the contexts in which we find ourselves. It’s not supposed to be optional, it’s supposed to be natural.