This week I am still working my way through the Pearl No Greater Joy magazine May/June issue. As I have noted before this issue is a bit different. For one thing Michael Pearl is answering scads of those Pearl letters. This one I’m quoting from today is Michael speaking of prayer, trying to explain the Holy Spirit’s role in being an editor, or explainer, or intermediary between us and God.
One of the Pearls fans, or perhaps the Pearls, asked if God does not hear or answer prayers that aren’t prayed right. They were hung up on the whole “Thy will be done” thing.
Reminds me of a sermon I once heard from a British pastor who was absolutely hysterically funny. He’d written a book on prayer and it was not just funny but unflinchingly honest about how hard it can be to pray for more than a few moments. He told a story of praying “Help, help, God are you there? Amen.”
The book called ‘How Not to Pray’ and is sadly out of print now. So if you see at a second hand book store a pink book with a goofy looking troll doll on the front by that name it’s that book. Worth a good read no matter what you think about praying.
Back to Michael. This is another case where Michael gives something less than his usual nasty toxic advice. Michael goes so far as to say that this is the role of the Holy Spirit, to approach God with the deepest groanings. He even goes as far as to say if you cannot express what’s in your heart all you need to do is groan in God’s general direction with your need, even if you don’t know what that is, and God will answer.
Wow, no pray this prayer exactly as I do or God will not listen. No formula, no exact words. Why is Michael’s theology starting to sounds so, dare I say the word, liberal?
For years now much of the Pearls advice has centered around blaming someone else for not taking the stringent steps they have laid out for absolutely everything. This issue marks a decided shift in the Pearls. I have to wonder why.
It’s like this week when Doug Wilson wrote about the death of Rachel Held Evans and expressed sorry for her family and was much less loathsomely toxic as usual. I guess a stopped clock is right at least twice a day.
But here’s the part of Michael’s explanation that I must comment on, that make me laugh, and explains a lot:
Here is an example of this principle. I have a secretary who helps me answer letters. If I’m answering a letter, I will dictate to her what I want to say. If it’s a particularly unpleasant situation, I might say, “Tell them to take that and stuff it,” or “I don’t give a flip about that.”
When she writes to the person, she will say something like, “Mr. Pearl says that, at the present time, he is not interested in continuing this dialogue.”
I’ll sign that letter, but that’s not exactly the way my original comment was stated. What she is doing is making my letter diplomatic and saving face for me, perhaps even making it legal. Her job is to take my letters and make them presentable.
The Holy Spirit does the same thing for us. When we pray, the Holy Spirit takes what we say, dresses it up, corrects the grammar, modifies the approach, takes what is in our heart, puts it into a package, and delivers it to the Father, and it’s a beautiful prayer.
So where can I get one of these making my writing more presentable people?
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