When trying to learn, sometimes you have to break stuff in order to figure out how not to break stuff.
Yesterday, my sister asked on facebook:
Looking for honest, simple answers here. Just a curiosity for me on what others think on the topic. What is the purpose of prayer? Do you think prayer has affected your life? How so? (Can you tell I’m doing some reading???)
I so appreciated the answers that followed that I began to think about how I would answer the question off the cuff, without substantial research.
Here is what I typed:
Hi Grace, I think the purpose of prayer is exactly what Faith said: relational—it is us engaging in the relationship and conversation that God already started.
Here is my stab at defining prayer:
Prayer is an act of communication with God, through which I declare that God is God, acknowledge that I am not God, (willingly or grudgingly) submit my will to His, and rejoice in the reality that because He loves me, He will hear me and respond.
Prayer can also be corporate, and I think real corporate prayer (with the appropriate pronoun shifts) could be defined in pretty much the same way.
I know you said honest and simple, I hope that qualifies.
As for “How so?” I think I’m I the same page as Nick: God changes me and has chosen to use prayer as one of His methods. With prayer He changes how I think, how I feel, and how I relate to others. As I submit my will to His, I learn to walk in His peace, even when times are tumultuous, and even when the right response to a situation is big and loud.
And, with prayer, I discover (and re-discover) that our heavenly Father is willing to intercede on Earth and change things that even in my best Machiavellian or Medical scenarios could not be changed. He softens hearts, mends relationships, convicts of sin, mends broken bones, and removes cancer.
I guess another way to put it is: Prayer is my submitting all to the will of God knowing/trusting/believing that He will always do the right thing (even if I can never understand why it was right).
For Me: before I can pursue superb writing, I must write.
Superb writing is an author’s gift to the world, to the reader. It enchants, informs, and persuades. Simple, well-chosen words draw people in and provide delight through entertainment and enlightenment.
I want produce superb writing. I want to create words that delight and inform, enchant and persuade.
I don’t do that now. I’m not sure how to get to a point where I do produce superb writing. But I will try.
Hidden, unread writing can never be superb because hidden, unread words never enchant, delight, or inform. So, any purusit of superb writing is a public adventure. I will begin the pursuit here. Time will tell whether I find the ‘write’ path.
released on facebook November 4, 2016
Like many voters in this election cycle, I have been reticent to engage in conversation. I will vote. I don’t like the two major presidential choices and have not wanted to talk openly about it. But, I have kept on reading, thinking, talking occassionally, and working toward a choice. In this process, I’ve heard over and over and over that it is possible for me to “waste my vote”. That phrase has always struck me as false. But, I had never chosen to slow down and think about why it hits me that way. I decided to contemplate the value of voting and how that value could be wasted. I decided to do it now because I vote tomorrow.Even as I think that it might be wiser to keep my thought to myself, here is the first stab at an imagined monologue on a park bench, a monologue that could never really happen.
This is the sermon video and outline presented at the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference, St. Paul, MN in August of 1994. The sermon explores the theme text of the Conference week by thinking about the legacy Moses was calling the people of Israel to build.
- Text: Deuteronomy 30:11-20
- Primary: Deuteronomy 30:17-18
- Secondary: Deuteronomy 30:19-20
Sometimes, we think about our legacy.
Moses called the people of God together to leave his legacy in words. As he did this, he called the people of Israel to choose to leave a legacy of life.
Knowing that it isn’t always easy to see from just one perspective, he provided them a legacy sandwich: here is the right way to build a legacy, here is the wrong way, and again here is the right way. [Read Deuteronomy 30:15-20]
Tonight, I’d like us to consider the wrong way to leave a legacy. You see, Moses provided this description of the wrong way to serve as a warning to Israel. While there are a variety of ways to break the warning into pieces—I do see five warning signs.