I recently read Margaret Feinberg's The Sacred Echo: Hearing God's Voice in Every Area of Your Life. In it, she asks some great questions about prayer like: "Why pray a prayer a hundred times when God knew my heart's desire before the words left my lips the first time? Why cry out for justice repeatedly when God knows the depth of need more than I ever will? Why echo a prayer when God has already heard it countless times before?" (20). I love those questions. How many times have I tossed out those same and similar questions to God? I love that our God is big enough to listen to our questions, to hear our questions, and to respond simply with His presence in our lives.
Sometimes my problem is that I want concrete answers to everything. I want to know and I want to know now. The reality is that answers to our questions are much less important than God. When our prayers open us to the presence of God in our lives and we begin to hear His voice (the sacred echo) in the everyday events and encounters, we begin to experience Him more intimately.
In the opening chapter, Margaret says that "prayer is the place where I'm invited to present the parts of myself that no one else sees to a God who already knows and loves me anyway" (26). What an awesome and yet somewhat terrifying picture of prayer. Hopefully, my prayer life can be much more than a recitation of a list of people who are sick (both physically and spiritually). Hopefully, it can be about hearing the persistent echo of God's voice and presence in my life.
-- Peace, Jamie