Conversation with God – From the Rectory 3 May 20
Who have you spoken with today? A quiet conversation with a family member, a brief and light-hearted exchange with the deliveryman, or perhaps that valuable time with the friend who telephoned to cheer you up, and then there’s God.
Prayer is conversation with God and an important quality of conversation is honesty. After observing Jesus in prayer, his disciples asked him to teach them to pray. In response he gave them guidance we know as The Lord’s Prayer (eg: Lk 11:1, Mat 6:9). Recognising the holiness of God (Hallowed be thy name), our material needs (Give us this day our daily bread) and our need to forgive and be forgiven, make for a good starting point. Yet the Lord’s Prayer only takes us so far. For a start it implies that prayer must follow a set formula. More importantly perhaps, there is no sign of the tension, fear or anger with which we are currently living. And then there is the issue of faith, how do we pray when God sounds silent?
Space here is limited, but a few examples may help find answers. Moses encounter with God at the burning bush (Exodus 3,4) is well known. What is less well known is that Moses came up with objection after objection before saying ‘please send someone else’. God met all his objections then gave him the help he needed for the job in hand. Centuries later, the prophet Elijah went on the run because he was afraid that he was a marked man (1 Kings 19). Once again, we see God helping him work through his fears before taking him back to Jerusalem.
The best example is Jesus himself. Immediately before his arrest he prayed desperately that he might be spared the coming ordeal; he wasn’t. On the cross, in agony, he choked out desperate words of reproach ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me’ (Matt 27:46) and was met with a deafening silence. It was only on Easter Day, two days later, that we see God’s answer. His father had not abandoned him. Instead he had walked with him ‘through the valley of the shadow of death’ (Psalm 23: 4), he was not abandoned, he is risen to new life.
When we pray, we should tell it as it is, not as we think it should be – but be prepared for an answer we might not like.
The Pew Sheet for this week is available on the Downloads page of the website.