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Some thoughts on prayer

October 30, 2008

I was thinking about prayer this week. This topic has become quite personal for me in recent months. In the course of my cancer treatment I have experienced what it feels like to have many, many friends praying for you. Folks like our families, our friends, our church family, even the friends I work out with at the gym. It is like experiencing some kind of amazing peace, even in the midst of trouble. I needed this (because I’m a hospital-phobe!). And so did my wife (because we’re doing this journey together). And we are very thankful for this support. During the week of my surgery, we also found out that we were expecting! Which was an answer to many of our own prayers (and of course, our mothers’!). I think I was reminded that sometimes answers to prayer come when we’re least expecting them. It’s important to keep our eyes open for how God might be working. Of course, the answer we got that week couldn’t be missed. But I also know there are times in our lives when God seems silent. As well as times when we miss how God is working and answering prayer, or even inviting us to be part of that process.

Which brings me to a new book. One of my friends co-authored a new book on prayer which looks very interesting. The book’s been on my Amazon wish list for a while, and I hope to pick it up soon! The book’s title is Becoming the Answer to our Prayers, by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove describe a dimension of prayer life that may be too often overlooked…

“Prayer is not so much about convincing God to do what we want God to do as it is about convincing ourselves to do what God wants us to do.”

What might it look like to be the answer to our prayers? How might this change our prayer life? This sort of emphasis could complement the inward side of prayer that we may be more used to, while including a more missional element. What are some ways our prayer life could become more “active”? How might this added dimension of prayer impact our community life?

A version of this post also appears on my church website.

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