Two Prayers–and a Problem

Two Prayers–and a Problem October 22, 2007

Two people want to pray. People can certainly pray anywhere, but these two decided to go to a place where prayers are routinely said. There is definitely something that enhances prayers by going to a place that really is set aside for such activity. The atmosphere may quiet the spirit, the whispers of other prayers, long since said, may still inhabit the space, pulling us toward a transcendent experience.

A really fascinating book, just released, called The Year of Living Biblically tells, among other things, how the regular practice of prayer brought a sense of inner belief that has never been there before. So, regular prayer does have benefits. Some do find time for this vital spiritual discipline.

These two men have decided to do so. They have arrived at the designated place of prayer. One walks in with much confidence. He exudes a personal assurance that many envy. That type of person walks in a room and immediately “owns” it. The space belongs to him, even if he has never seen it before. He knows his power and everyone else knows he knows. Charisma. He’s got it. Everyone acts glad to see him. The energy immediately rises.

The other, however, slides in furtively. Will he be well-received? Too many times, the “no” in answer to that question has bounced off the blank and unwelcoming faces to his fearful brain. He looks around, not sure where to stand, not really wanting to be noticed.

The first man, we shall call him the Confident Man, speaks boldly to God, and cares not who hears his words. He knows his goodness and has no fear of letting others know.

The second man, and perhaps we can call him the Mousey Man, barely mumbles his prayer. The last thing he wants is for others to hear him. He knows he needs God; he knows his unworthiness.

We all know the story—the Confident One leaves with his prayer unheard; the Mousey Man’s prayer goes straight to the heart of God. So we all want to identify with the Mousey Man. But there’s a problem here. Aren’t we supposed to approach the throne of Grace with confidence? Hasn’t Jesus paid the price? Aren’t we supposed to have a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Doesn’t that give us the right to approach God with familiarity? As in, “Hi there, Daddy. Time for my wish list!”

More later . . .

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