The Unspoken Dilemma

Christian Prayer Provides Unity of Purpose

What’s the difference between a person who says they don’t need God in order to pray and a Christian who prays to God? Every human being “just” prays by virtue of continually processing ideas, thoughts, concerns and desires associated with the daily navigation of life. “Just” praying, however, has human limitations as compared to Christian prayer.

A Christian who prays invites God’s interaction and consents to God’s divine union through the personal relationship that we have with Jesus. We understand our life, identity and experience through Jesus of Nazareth – his life, death, and resurrection – who is simultaneously and inseparably human and God. Through Christian prayer, our Lord Jesus unites humanity in its frail and fallen state with His divine purpose of salvation.

Kenneth Leech states, “At heart prayer is a process of self giving and of being set free from isolation. To pray is to enter into a relationship with God and to be transformed by                    God. And this relationship is close to the relationships we have with human beings. Many people however see prayer merely as asking God for things, pleading with a remote Being out of the needs and crises of the earth. Sometimes these pleas produce a response; often they do not. So prayer is seen in essentially functional terms – is it effective or not? Does it produce results? It is hardly surprising that we see prayer in this way. We live within a social order that is geared to the notion of efficiency and production as the supreme end of existence. But in order to pray well we need to disengage ourselves from this way of thinking.” (True Prayer, p.6-7)

Each and every one of us has a need and/or desire for union and communion with God; it is often disguised in material desires that lead us to think we can pray on our own and get somewhere. Praying without including and inviting God is little more than talking to our selves. In actuality, when we feel the nudge to pray, we are experiencing God’s grace at work in us. This grace will carry us deeply into the personal relationship that Jesus desires for us. This grace is also what draws us into community. As Christians, we cannot simply view our relationship with God as that which is separate from our relationship with each other. Through Christian prayer, our relationships with each other become our expression of our transforming relationship with God. These relationships are not separable, just as Jesus’ divinity and humanity are not separable; Christian prayer is what unites us all.

This is a critical time for us as a collective Christian community to invite God’s revealing love and fulfillment of His purpose, and to express thanksgiving for the grace that our Lord Jesus reveals through our intentional prayer life. If you are not already doing so, please consider beginning a prayer discipline, even if you begin with a brief ten minutes twice a day. Just as our individual vote counts in every political election, our disciplined involvement in divine union with God through prayer will direct our collective relationships and fulfill God’s saving purpose for us. It is through cultivating our prayer life that we are more able to encounter and recognize the power of the living God’s interaction in our relationships and in this world.

Praying is more than asking God for “things”, it is consenting to the Lord who knows and unites us. We don’t necessarily need God in order to pray, but if we desire clarity and unity of purpose, we must seek a divine union and personal relationship with Jesus. We cannot possibly achieve that sense purpose if we “just” pray to meet our individual needs. Jesus prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane for one purpose; he also prays with and for us today for that same purpose, that we “all may be one.” (John 17:21) As we navigate life day in and day out, let us rely on the divine union that Jesus offers through praying with Him. TCGB.