SINGLENESS OF FOCUS
God, the one and only — I’ll wait as long as he says. — Psalm 62:1, The Message
God is not one among many. When we pray we are not covering our bases. Prayer is not a way of checking out a last resort of potential help. We understandably want to explore all the options: we write letters, make telephone calls, visit prospects, arrange interviews. We don’t know who might be useful to us at any one time. Of course, we cultivate God. But not in prayer. We try it, but it doesn’t work.
Prayer is exclusive. Prayer is centering… We can’t pray with one eye on the main chance and a side glance for God. Prayer trains the soul to singleness of focus: for God alone.
~Where Your Treasure Is
THE REASON FOR PRAYER
Let my cry come right into your presence, God. — Psalm 119:170, The Message
The Psalms were not prayed by people trying to understand themselves. They are not the record of people searching for the meaning of life. They were prayed by people who understood that God had everything to do with them. God, not their feelings, was the center. God, not their souls, was the issue. God, not the meaning of life, was critical.
Feelings, souls, and meanings were not excluded — they are very much in evidence — but they are not the reason for the prayers. Human experiences might provoke the prayers, but they do not condition them as prayers.
PRAYING IN THIS PLACE
“How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” — Psalm 137:4, NRSV
How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” The Israelites didn’t think they could. But they did. My, how they did! How did they do it?… They immersed themselves in torah-meditation: before they knew it they were praying. They were trees. Transplanted to Babylon they put down roots, put out leaves, and produced fruit.
We all suppose that we could pray, or pray better, if we were in the right place. We put off praying until we are where we think we should be, or want to be. We let our fantasies or our circumstances distract us from attending to the word of God that is aimed right where we are, and invites our answers from that spot.
MY SOUL WAITS
For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from Him. — Psalm 62:5, RSV
My soul waits. Another will is greater, wiser and more intelligent than my own. So I wait. Waiting means there is another whom I trust and from whom I receive. My will, important and essential as it is, finds a will that is more important, more essential…
I begin to pray by attempting to manipulate the will of God. I end by putting myself in a position to be moved by His will. Waiting in prayer is a disciplined refusal to act before God acts.
~Where Your Treasure Is
Excerpted with permission from God’s Message for Each Day by Eugene Peterson, copyright Eugene H. Peterson.
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Why do we sometimes avoid prayer? Why do we sometimes think of it as a last resort? Prayer is our connection to God. It is how we hear His voice, receive His direction, and follow His will. It’s how we grow and change into the person God created us to be! ~ Devotionals Daily