Growing in Prayer Part 1: Hindrances to Prayer - page 6

 


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From the Winter 2016 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Growing in Prayer Part 1: Hindrances to Prayer

by Bill Kynes, Ph.D.
C.S. Lewis Institute Senior Fellow

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  But after the revelation of the love of God on the cross of Christ, how can we possibly believe that? Paul put it like this: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all -- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32 NIV). He gave us His own Son. Do you think He will withhold from you anything—anything at all—which is for your eternal and ultimate good? It’s ludicrous! Then why don’t we pray to this good and gracious God? “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” Jesus asks. ”Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:9–11 NIV).

Prayer Is a Relationship of Love

  Do we think of God as our Father in heaven? Maybe we don’t pray because we don’t really think that God is, in fact, personal in that way. Too often, we think of Him as some great life force that somehow governs the cosmos—a benign energy field that keeps things running according to some mysterious plan. Maybe we don’t pray because we don’t really believe that in Christ this great and good God is in truth our loving heavenly Father.
  You see, prayer is not a transaction. It is not a form of magical manipulation by which we say certain words in a certain way as a kind of incantation, and—bingo!—we get what we want. Prayer, in the Bible, is essentially about a relationship—a relationshipwith God who created us in His image. God is a person, and He created us in His image as persons.
  And He is a speaking God. “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:1–2 NIV). The Person of God has taken humanity into Himself. The eternal Word of God has become flesh in Jesus Christ. God has given us His testimony to that incarnate Word in the written Word, the Scriptures. And by the Spirit, our God continues to speak to us through that Word, and in prayer He invites us to speak to Him and to relate to Him. The true I in relationship with the true God, that’s what true prayer is. It’s a relationship—a communion of love. “True, whole prayer,” wrote Augustine, “is nothing but love.”

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