Prayer Mentoring with Philip Yancey (Part 3)
In Genesis 18, Abraham has a bit of an argument with God. It is the first recorded record of someone “Jewing down” someone. In this case the someone is God. (And I can say Jew down because I am Jewish). He does so a bit tentatively but he is concerned about justice and trying to understand God’s ways. This is what Yancey has to say…
Like Abraham, I approach God at first in fear and trembling, only to learn that God wants me to stop groveling and start arguing. I dare not meekly accept the state of the world, with all its injustice and unfairness. I must call God to account for God’s own promises, God’s own character.
Robert Duvall’s movie The Apostle includes a scene in which Sonny, a preacher with a hot temper and a criminal record, stomps around in an upstairs room kicking furniture and yelling. A neighbor calls to complain about the noise: “Sounds like you have a madman over there.” Sonny’s mom smiles and explains that’s just Sonny. “Ever since he’s been little-bitty boy my son’s been talking to the Lord. Sometimes he talks to the Lord and sometimes he yells at the Lord, and tonight he just happens to be yelling at the Lord.” p.97
I don’t know that I have ever argued with God. By nature I am not an arguer. But I’m thinking it would be good for me to express to God some things I am confused by and just don’t understand. I mean there are definitely things that I just don’t get. I understand the consequences of the Fall and the ramifications of sin but still I’m bothered by why God allows some things to happen and “seems” unconcerned by what can only be called tragedy. In short I need to be more emotionally engaged with God. Here’s Yancey again…
I used to worry about my deficiency of faith. In my prayers I expect little and seem satisfied with less. Faith feels like a gift that a person either has or lacks, not something that can be developed by exercise, like a muscle. My attitude is changing, though, as I begin to understand faith as a form of engagement with God. I may not be able to summon up much belief in miracles, or dream big dreams, but I can indeed exercise my faith by engaging with God in prayer. p.98
Getting in shape is tough when you are out of shape. It hurts to work muscles that haven’t been worked much. That’s why this Prayer Mentoring has been helpful to me. I need the week in and week out encouragement to keep going at it. I know I’m in better shape now then I was in January. And hopefully come December I will be a prayer stud.
I’m just sayin’!
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