This post is (sort of) a follow-up to my recent post Becoming the Exploited Ones?
A life of ceaseless prayer is key to moving in the direction that I described in the post mentioned above…
But what does it mean to pray without ceasing?
I have long thought that the spirit of prayer is “not my will but thine be done,” as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. But recently, I’ve been reflecting on what Jesus’s prayer might mean.
Life is full of contingencies, of things that could possibly go wrong. The nature of modern Western cukture is to eliminate as many of the contingencies as possible, often at great cost to humanity and the creation at large. Many people pay extraordinarily high rates for health insurance, to protect themselves against the contingency of illness. The United States pays millions of dollars every minute for the military strength to protect its wealth and interests around the globe against a host of contingencies.
Our focus, as followers of the self-emptying, all- loving Christ, should be to do well at following in the w a y of Christ, not being anxious about what could go wrong, as we follow after Christ. Prayer, then, is submitting ourselves to faithfulness, and trusting in the sovereignty of God to care for us whatever contingencies might arise. Intercessory prayer then is asking God to give the person or people that we are praying for the strength and courage to trust and follow God amidst the contingencies that they might face.
I don’ t know about you, but I can get REALLY anxious about contingencies, ask my wife, but part of maturing in the way of Christ is learning to follow him without anxiety about what might happen as we do.
How, that is by what specific practices, do we grow to trust prayerfully in God’ s providence in a world dominated by anxiety and a lust for control?