Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Those who know me, know that I do re-reads like some folks do re-runs on television. It is my belief that reading a book once is no reason not to read it again. Some novels by favorite authors have been read six, seven, or more times. While I thinned my library harshly upon retirement, one book I kept because I knew it would be read again was John Eldredge's Walking With God.
Very simply it is a book about prayer. The underlying theme of the whole book is: "An intimate, conversational walk with God is available." When the book is taken seriously, it shatters the shell of contentment we often construct around our prayer life. According to Eldredge, an intimate prayer life requires work done on our knees, time measured not in moments but in big chunks, and the willingness to replace routine patterns of prayer with risk and experimentation. He taps that desire in us to want more in our prayer life and then challenges us to go after it.
But, perhaps, one of the most prayer changing things he teaches is the art of asking. No one taught us in seminary to ask God what to pray about in a pastoral prayer, or how to pray for someone who comes with a need which seems so obvious. Like many others I have learned the art of depending on my own insights and impressions instead of stopping and asking, "God, how do you want me to pray here?" But, I am also beginning to learn that asking can take us to amazing places in our praying.