Tuesday, April 01, 2008

prayer + theology

our last 3-4 fusion/experiences we've concluded with a prayer written/displayed on our screens.

in many ways, those prayers are part of our design to help move people closer to god. see, whether we've been christians 'all our lives' or are just beginning to follow jesus, we all need to take steps every day to get closer to god.

every day

all of us

more steps

every day we must willingly engage the spirit of god and surrender control of some other aspect of ourselves (or, perhaps, re-surrender something we've previously surrendered...and then taken hold of once more).

so, our prayers have been simple prayers that have tried to convey that sentiment.

we're trying to get everyone to engage jesus a little more.

but - it has been pointed out - these past few prayers haven't used "jesus", but "god"
so, someone asked me, is it enough to pray to god (and not specifically jesus)

well - that's kind of a loaded question

one the one hand - yes!
we pray to the father, by the son, through the holy spirit (that's our technical direction as per the NT)
and when we pray and ask god for greater understanding of him, we can have confidence that he hears us and takes us at our intention (regardless of whether or not we botch up our prayer grammar...as per the teachings of jesus: which of you, if he asked his father for bread would expect a serpent in return?)

then, on the other hand - no, it's not really 'good enough' just to pray to some non-specific deity
we're christians
little christs
we don't follow the 'great spirit' or the 'all-knowing one' or one of the many gods out there
we follow jesus christ, incarnated deity, firstborn over all creation, above whom there is none other, by whom all things are created, in whom we live and move and have our being, etc., yada, and all the rest.

sometimes i get so overwhelmed while preaching that all i want to do is just stop whatever i'm saying and start saying 'jesus'

over and over again

it's my pentecostal roots, i think

everything i'm doing i'm doing for him - even working at westwinds has little to do with westwinds and everything to do with serving and engaging jesus.



so it breaks my heart when someone wonders whether or not we're prayer to/about jesus, because - for me - there's no other option. if i ever truly neglected jesus with my teachings or with my affections, i'd be unable to bear that.

it would kill me if that were true.

i am quite certain, however, that it's not true. though (in the case of our current study of ecclesiastes) we rarely incorporate the person and work of jesus (because he hadn't been born when the text was written and we can only honestly introduce him in the text when the text suggests it) in our messages, that doesn't mean that our prayers and our worship are not for him/to him/about him/in response to him.

him, of course, being jesus





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