Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Gospel and Prayer

Speaking loosely, I've begun to find that prayer is the most important means of living the Gospel.

This is because my understanding of the Gospel is that the human experience is the quest for deliverance from Evil, and the good news is that God, in his perfect capacity, acts to deliver us from evil. Our role is almost a passive one, except that we are to simply believe that God is, in fact, acting to save us.

And prayer is the perfect way to experience this. By making a petition to God, we acknowledge our need (or, in other words, it's an act of repenting from the sin of self-sufficiency, aka, believing we can save ourselves, aka, believing that we are God). In that act, we also are expresssing our faith that God can and will save us. And then we wait on God, in His infinite wisdom and capacity, to answer, knowing that either He will do as we've prayed, or else it wouldn't have been good for us if He had.

1 comment:

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

You are correct in what you wrote here. This is very Orthodox in spirit. What we find, though, is that prayer encompasses much more than a set of prayers, or even speaking to God. It is, of course, and as you have pointed out, listening to Him speak to us. It's in this second aspect of prayer that we find that prayer begins to lose its borders with what are normally regarded as other things, and gradually envelopes everything we do, think and feel, in such a way that the command to "pray without ceasing" becomes for us a realizable fact.

Notice I didn't say goal, because when you strive for "unceasing prayer" you have not begun to really move towards it in reality, only in desire. It is God Himself who makes us capable of praying without ceasing, and why and how is this? It is because He Himself prays in us and with us, both when we are aware and when we aren't. The verse that speaks this truth to me is,

"I sleep, but my heart is awake. I hear my Beloved knocking…" (Song of Solomon 5:2)