Thursday, October 25, 2007

What's The Big Deal About Prayer Anyway?

After my last post I felt convicted that I needed to clarify my thoughts on prayer. I didn't want to leave the impression that I didn't believe in prayer, because nothing could be further from the truth, but what is the big deal about prayer anyway?
I know from the Bible that God does respond as a result of prayer. Many many times I've seen Him responding directly to prayer in my own life and the lives of others, so how could I say there is no power in it?
Because I am just a weak vessel and the power is His. When I pray it is His power that works through me, not because of anything I can do, but because of what he can do.
Its not about a mumbo jumbo magic formula or perfect combination of words to convince God to give me all that I want or need.
Its about the relationship that is built with Him when I pray. About knowing who He is and who He wants me to be. Its about letting Him open my eyes to see the world with the Hope that He gives me. Its about staying connected the way you would want to stay connected to your husband or your best friend.
"Pray without ceasing" 1 Thessalonians 5:17
The big deal about prayer is simply being with Him.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

In Need of A Big Big God

I spent an amazing 3 days at Valley Ridge Art Studio last weekend under the tutelage of the awesomely talented jewelry and mixed media artist Susan Lenart Kazmer . I came away with more inspiration from that one 3 day workshop then I have had in a long long time.

Susan is such a gracious and giving artist, teaching and guiding with patience and enthusiasm, steering each student toward at least one completed project, which was tough considering all the techniques she introduced us to in the 3 days we were there. Just as I was planning to give up she would encourage me with "you're almost there!" and I would push on, stopping to watch her demos and practice other techniques with the class.

The last morning she encouraged so well that just about every student managed to create a jointed wire frame bracelet and develop new skills with a torch. For me, just being able to pick up the torch was a big accomplishment, and I left feeling comfortable enough with it to want to buy one to use at home.

Under Susan's sincere encouragement I managed to deviate from the class project of making a journal and instead created this Prayer Box Choker from a handcrafted antique cookie tin and bits & pieces of several old rosaries, including the cross and some of the religious medals.

Prayer boxes are used in many different religions. The wearer writes his or her prayers or chooses items of significance that represent their prayers or wishes and puts them in the box wearing it as jewelry to keep them close until the prayers or wishes come true.

I love the concept but as I contemplated what would go inside of my box I couldn't help thinking, is there power in this box? If I put my prayers inside and wear them close will they be more likely to come true?

As I sorted through my treasures looking for the perfect object to put in my prayer box I picked up an antique rosary and wondered, is there power in this little piece of metal? Or these antique glass beads? These objects that were made by human hands? Can we carve an image, even if it is the image of Jesus hanging on the cross, and find power there?
Is there power in my prayers?
With all of my heart I knew the answer was No. There is no power in these little objects made by man. There isn't power in my prayers.
But there is power in the one that I am praying to.
You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.
Psalm 77:14

Have I been keeping God inside a box? Keeping my expectations of Him low so as not to be disappointed? Putting more faith in my own prayers then in the one that I am praying to?

Today I am in need of a big big God. One that still performs miracles. One that displays His power among His people. My hope can not be in any man, or even in myself or the combination of my words. My hope can only be in God. A big big God.

Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Psalm 150:2