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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Prayer - in time, and eternity!

This afternoon, I took the back off a clock that no longer kept good time.  However, it also had two dials in addition to the main clock-face - a thermometer, and a hygrometer.  The body of the clock I consider to be quite attractive so, rather than throw out the whole piece, I removed the back; disconnected the hands; took out the clock mechanism; and was left with a hole in the middle of the dial!  That didn't look too good.  What should I do?  In a flash of inspiration, I went to where I knew I had some "Praying Hands" stickers - black on a gold background - and stuck one of them across the centre.

I do hope that some folk, when visiting me in my (still to be organised!) study, will look at the object on the wall, and ask why there are no hands for the clock, but Praying Hands in the centre!  The answer, of course, will be that it is always time to pray!

Prayer is of great importance to the disciple of Jesus.  When I was invited, earlier in the year, to bring the message to L'Église Évangélique Libre de Bergerac (The Bergerac Free Evangelical Church), I did not know if I would be invited again, this year.  The message that I brought was on "The Cost of Prayer".  Shortly afterwards, I was asked to bring the message again.  This time, I spoke on "The Importance of Prayer".  I am due to speak on Sept.13th.  The message will be based on "The Prayer of Jabez".  So, without any prior planning, I will have brought a brief series on Prayer!  [By the way, if anyone wishes to listen to any/all of those messages, recordings may be found at http://www.eel-bergerac.fr/apercu.htm].

Then, in yesterday's regular 'Cultural Commentary' from Dr Jim Denison (which I only got around to opening today!) he states, having referred to two passage in the Book of the Revelation given to John: "Think about it: God turns your momentary prayers into eternal incense that rises before him in heaven. That means your prayers today can affect events yesterday, since God knew yesterday you would pray today."   

Dr Denison continues by quoting from C.S.Lewis: "We can at noon become part causes of an event occurring at ten a.m. . . . My free act [of praying] contributes to the cosmic shape. That contribution is made in eternity or 'before all worlds'; but my consciousness of contributing reaches me at a particular point in the time-series."

He (Lewis) explained: "We must not picture destiny as a film unrolling for the most part on its own, but in which our prayers are sometimes allowed to insert additional items. On the contrary, what the film displays to us as it unrolls already contains the results of our prayers and of all our other acts.

"There is no question whether an event has happened because of your prayer. When the event you prayed for occurs your prayer has always contributed to it. When the opposite event occurs your prayer has never been ignored; it has been considered and refused, for your ultimate good and the good of the whole universe."  [You may see the full article at https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/14f8dbd09dba1113] 

So prayer is not only important, and effective, within the time/space continuum in which we live and move and have our being.  It may also be seen as being important from an eternal perspective!  I wonder if that is behind the old 'jingle' - "Satan flees, when he sees the weakest Christian on his knees"!

Do you pray?  How much of your time do you invest in prayer?  Is prayer merely an "Emergency" button; or is it regular, intimate, communion with the Sovereign Lord of all that is?

"Let us pray" may be a useful way in which to introduce corporate prayer at a church worship service.  However, for the individual disciple of Jesus, prayer should be as normal as breathing - and it is, in fact, more important!

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