there’s this thing that I just can’t get around.
if the focus of prayer is getting what we ask for…
if the motivation for religious devotion is about controlling our lives and our environment… (e.g. being healed from cancer, avoiding an accident…)
if the heart of worship is keeping God happy so we can be happy…
then it seems that we have forsaken God for a puppy dog. a great big loveable puppy dog in the sky who (sometimes) sits when we say “Sit!” and when he doesn’t listen - or do as we ask - we are incesnsed. and threaten take him to dog-training.
or should that read god-training?
prayer has become our hit-and-miss attempts at getting puppy god to jump through hoops.
and worship is giving him the treats he loves in hope that he’ll love us best of all, and perform better tomorrow at dog-training…
a big part of the teaching of Jesus that I seem to have missed is the simple invitation to SEE what is already happening. Jesus says (repeatedly) that the Kingdom of God (or heaven) is:
- nearly here
- upon us
- in our hearts
(I understand the “Kingdom of God” or the “Kingdom of Heaven” to refer to Life lived God’s Way.)A few implications of this might be:
- God isn’t doing what we ask him. he’s doing as he likes. if our prayers aren’t “answered” maybe it’s because we haven’t been in the least bit concerned with what God is doing. What is God doing is the key question for us to ask in any situation.
- The Kingdom isn’t going to come someday. It’s already present. If we’re not content (and the kingdom is arriving) either we don’t really want things God’s Way or we are struggling to perceive the Kingdom. (Good chance we are struggling to perceive the reality of God’s Kingdom in the same way his disciples struggled to “get” the parables… the reality of the Kingdom is not dependent on our ability to perceive it. but our experience of the Kingdom may be severely affected by our ability to SEE it and BELIEVE in it.)
- Prayer isn’t so much asking for things as it is asking for the ability to SEE things - the things we’re not seeing and the things we need to see!
- Worship is eye-opening wonder. When a vision of the Kingdom - Life lived God’s Way - is revealed. Where the curtain is pulled back and the glorious light of God’s glory is revealed. And we are inspired to continue believing and giving ourselves to this Kingdom (the one that is hard to see and recognise, at first…)