Wednesday, July 8, 2015

On Prayer and the Father's Love

In one of her essay collections, Elisabeth Elliot recounts an anecdote from her childhood. At a seaside vacation, her little brother didn't trust that their father would keep him safe from drowning as they jumped together in the waves. Even though Elisabeth joined her father in the water, let him hold her as they jumped together, and seemed to be having a splendid time, her brother stayed on the shore until the last day, when he relented and discovered all the fun he'd missed by trusting his fears instead of his father. Reflecting on this, Elisabeth writes:

"Learning to pray is learning to trust the wisdom, the power, and the love of our Heavenly Father, always so far beyond our dreams. He knows our need and knows ways to meet it that have never entered our heads. Things we feel sure we need for happiness may often lead to our ruin. Things we think will ruin us..., if we believe what the Father tells us and surrender ourselves into His strong arms, bring us deliverance and joy.... 
"My father knew far better than his small, fearful, stubborn son what would give him joy. So does our Heavenly Father. Whenever I have resisted Him, I have cheated myself.... Whenever I have yielded, I have found joy." 
~Elisabeth Elliot, "Learning the Father's Love," in Keep a Quiet Heart

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Praying Heart

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 ESV)

The Ebony Dog at his new favorite lookout spot. A view of the neighborhood and a cozy bed at the same time? What's not to like?

This month I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to A Praying Life by Paul Miller. Here are a few of quotes I loved enough to transcribe, hence the absence of page numbers. Any errors of punctuation are therefore mine. If you're looking for summer reading or just desire to grow in your prayer life, I highly recommend this book. It's one of my favorite reads/listens of the first half of 2015 and one worthy of revisiting in future, even the near future.

"A needy heart is a praying heart. Dependency is the heartbeat of prayer."

"...the search for a 'happy pill' or happy thoughts will not stop our restless anxiety. It runs too deep. Instead of fighting anxiety, we can use it as a springboard to bending our hearts to God. Instead of trying to suppress anxiety, manage it, or smother it with pleasure, we can turn our anxiety toward God. When we do that, we'll discover that we've slipped into continuous praying."

"When I pray over a problem, that problem begins to sparkle with the energy of God."

"When confronted with suffering that won't go away, or even with a minor problem, we instinctively focus on what is missing, such as the lost coats and the betrayal in the Joseph story [Genesis 37, 39-50], not on the Master's hand. Often when you think that everything has gone wrong, it's just that you're in the middle of a story. If you watch the stories God is weaving in your life, you, like Joseph, will begin to see the patterns. You'll become a poet, sensitive to your Father's voice."