Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Paradox of Prayer...

This Henri Nouwen quote is what one of my classes this semester has as included content...The professor believes without a shadow of a doubt that prayer is central to anything else in the Christian life...Everything else falls under prayer...I really hope to fully be in that mindset by the end of the class...Prayer is admittedly one of my weakest points as a followers of Christ...

"The paradox of prayer is that we have to learn how to pray while we can only receive it as a gift. It is exactly this paradox that clarifies why prayer is the subject of so many seemingly contrasting statements. All the great saints in history and all the spiritual directors worth their salt say that we have to learn to pray, since prayer is our first obligation as well as our highest calling. Libraries have been written about the question of how to pray. Many and men and women have tried to articulate the different forms and levels of their impressive experiences, and have encouraged their readers to follow their road. They remind us repeatedly of St. Paul's words: 'Pray constantly' (1 Thes. 5:7), and often give elaborate instructions on how to develop an intimate relationship with God. They say that we cannot truly pray by ourselves, but that it is God's spirit who prays in us. St. Paul put it very clearly, 'No one can say, "Jesus is Lord" unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit' (1 Cor. 12:3). We cannot force God into a relationship. God comes to us on his initiative, and no discipline, effort, or ascetic practice can make him come. All mystics stress with an impressive unanimity that prayer is 'grace,' that is, a free gift from God, to which we can only respond with gratitude."

-Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out, p.123-124

3 comments:

Me. Thats all. said...

lets pray together. weekly. I'm serious. I'm not doing so hot in that category.
Lets hold each other accountable.

Loved this post. God is so good.

Abby :) said...

So I haven't read your blog in awhile...my bad! I'm learning this same thing. I'm reading a book by Henri Nouwen called Compassion (you need to read it) and it's amazing how we've failed to realize the power of prayer. Thanks for sharing, love you bud!

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