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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

I was realizing one interesting thing this week, because prayer has been lacking. That is, prayer and sin are complete opposites. I might be the Apostle of the Blindingly Obvious on that one; I don't care. It hasn't been that obvious to me. In any case, from talking with various friends, I have a quite undeserved reputation as a "prayer warrior." In evangelical parlance, that means I don't treat 'I'll pray for you' the same as 'Have a good day.' If that's all it takes, we are a sad bunch. I've forgotten thousands of prayers. On the other hand, being a bit Martin Lutherish, I feel the need to say, "Holy Spirit, would you hear the prayers of friends I may have forgotten..." (And of course, "TT" and "Rabbi Tbone" are always in my prayers, unless I screw up.) As I was chewing on the silliness of being credited with something I have no idea about, I reasoned, "C'mon, there's nuns and grandmas who can pray me under the table" and I realized how funny that was. [It means you've spent too much time in bars.--ed.] And yet, have you noticed how often spiritual health is symbolized by alcoholic beverages? I've seen the dark side of all of that, so it isn't just an apology for it. But I am really glad I know this idiom. [Side Rant: Again, if you are a Christian of any stripe who is at all offended by my approving mention of nuns, this blog is not for you. If you think Roman Catholicism is a synagogue of Satan, this blog is not for you. It's a big Net. Seriously though, I've seen too much to actually believe this. What do you think? Most of those people have either: 1) Never been to a Mass, 2) Never met a real Catholic; or 3) decided that a committee report from the British House of Commons in 1646 is actually the Word of God. Look, I love being Presbyterian and Reformed. [Pseudo-papist liar.--ed.] Everyone who has been a mentor to me is both of those things, as I have been for almost ten years. But let me say it this way: I know Jesus Christ when I see him. I think I know his disciples when I see them, too. Get ready to see a whole army of popes in Heaven. Or at least a battallion. I'll even grant that Thomas Aquinas was possibly wrong soteriologically. Not that I know. But I'll bet eleventy billion dollars he'll be with us. [Don't you know he's Reformed?--ed.] Sure he is. But I begin to think "TR" means Truly Ridiculous.] I begin to know and understand that prayer is the key to union with Christ (post-baptism, of course). Os Guinness said that who you are behind closed doors with noone but yourself and God is how much a Christian you really are, and he's right. It was that thought which convicted me 5 years or so to get better at prayer, because I knew that despite myself, what God had done for me was a great act of love that I didn't want to, couldn't, walk away from. How do you maintain a friendship, or love between brothers? Father-son? Anything, really. Conversation. Sometimes light, often deep, often emotional. And about 6 months ago, I realized that God is actually intelligent, that He's read all the books I've read, that my professors have read. In other words, if I want to use big words to ask Him things, it's OK. [You're an idiot.--ed.] God loves the nerd in me. That was really liberating. And at the risk of sounding a bit more "Name it, claim it" than might be healthy, it seems like God loves it when we pray the promises of Scripture, and ask for those. I know a theology professor of some repute who said that certain prayers are infalliable. Given what I just said, that has to be true. If you ask that Christ be glorified (in living faith, of course) that's getting answered every time. You get the idea. [But you don't have the prayers of Mary and the saints--ed.] Well, I get the feeling that if they are "there," they are praying for all of us. [Side Rant #2: By the way, I hereby award myself eleventy billion points for being an evangelical with a blog, writing a reasonably self-reflective post without the b-word that is synonymous with sinfulness or fallenness. The concept is good, the reality is maddening, but the word is annoying. I blame Dan Allender.]