Friday, August 05, 2011

The Papa Prayer

"If we remain in self, if we're not drawing on God's love as the most treasured reality in our lives, we'll treasure something else-and we'll pray for it. It may never cross our minds that we're praying for a second thing, that we're using God, even trying to control Him, more than worshipping Him. The danger is especially great when the thing we are praying for is the promised perk of the spiritual life.

Listen to this warning of Oswald Chambers: "We utilise God for the sake of getting peace and joy, that is, we do not realise Jesus Christ, but only our enjoyment of Him. This is the first step in the wrong direction."

Do we see the danger Chamber's finger is on? It's very subtle. Jesus Christ does satisfy our souls, but not always right away. Sometimes we have to trust that one day, not now we'll know beyond doubt that  God's requirement to remain in Him perfectly aligns with the deepest desire of our hearts. In the moment, however, giving priority to our relationship with God may not produce the maximum satisfaction in our souls that we legitimately desire.

If we value our satisfaction in Christ more than Christ Himself, we remain committed to ourselves and not Christ. We may think we're committed to Him, and in a sense we are- but only as a means to an end. The end is not Christ's glory but our satisfaction.

We may think we're worshipping God and praying in the Spirit when all we are doing is using Him, as a woman who wants a baby might use a man to gain what she believes is her greatest good. The fruit of the relationship is more treasured than the relationship itself. When the provider fails to provide, when the woman doesn't get pregnant, or when the joy isn't felt, the temptation to look elsewhere to gain what we want becomes irresistible. Or we pray harder to win the provision from the provider. And relational praying means nothing."

[Page 57]

The Papa Prayer by Larry Crabb is the best book on prayer I have read in a long while. I may go so far as to say it will transform your understanding and enjoyment of prayer.

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