On Sunday, I heard someone say, “Sometimes when I pray, I don’t feel anything.”
Has this happened to you? It has for me.
There’s no magic. It’s like talking to the wall.
“Blah blah blah. meh.”
Sometimes we approach prayer and other spiritual practices with certain expectations, right? We want an experience or we hope for some immediate return for our effort. It shouldn’t be dull, we think. It shouldn’t be lifeless.
In trying to connect with God we wonder if it’s really a two way street.
Maybe it’s the same thing we wonder in our other relationships. Am I doing all the rowing on this boat?
In this, I’m reminded of the lessons from my seminary professor who made a point to tell us that Yahweh switched things up on his people–most of the time. No victory was won the same way twice. Was God pushing the limits of their expectations? Probably.
I wonder if these variances happened precisely because God is personal. I wonder if God is always the same by way of consistently changing: A characteristic of a living God and ongoing relationship. Usually personal beings resist manipulation, right?
What happens when we want something to be predictable…a sure thing? A wife and a prostitute can do the same horizontal function, but there’s something about doing it for cash changes the whole thing…a lot, I assume. The latter is less a relationship and more of a phlegmatic transaction with the veneer of allure. The outcome is very predictable. Hence, relationship as a commodity has a dehumanizing (or depersonalizing) consequence. (Refer to the above image posted outside a brothel. It’s a menu.)
Isn’t it spiritually healthier for us when God shows us that he’s not coin operated or predictable, but rather relational and multifaceted? We wouldn’t want to be treated like a vending machine either, so maybe it makes sense that God would “keep things fresh”. Strangely, God risks frustrating us to foster growth.
If you’re feeling like you’re “praying to the wall” lately, realize that you are the verge of a growth-enhancing switcheroo…better named: a new movement of the divine. Be on the look out for it.
Oh, and when you spot it then it’ll change again soon.
Through this God shows us that he’s intricate and personal, not static and mechanized. He draws us into something deeper. He gives us something for an advancement of faith, sight unseen.
Where are you right now?
On the verge of change or knee-deep in a fresh one?
Thoughts or comments?