Summary: Prayer is to be a dialogue with God. He’s how to listen as we pray
Tiling the Soil of the Soul – The classic Spiritual Disciplines October 16, 2005
Contemplative Prayer: DIGGING THE WELL DEEPER
I’ve titled this series on the Spiritual Disciplines, “Tiling the soil of the soul.”
Most of us realize that we cannot grow the fruit of the Spirit, or weed out the sins of our lives by sheer will power alone. But the Holy Spirit partners with us, as we use the classic spiritual disciplines to till the soil of our soul, the weeds cannot grow and the Spirit brings growth to the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
We till the soul of the soul through the classic Christian spiritual disciplines like meditation, fasting, solitude, service and prayer.
Last Month we looked at Christian meditation and I invited you to begin to practice meditation. Did anybody begin? Do you have something to share – either about an experience, a blessing, or the difficulty of meditation?
- Bill Leslie was the Pastor of LaSalle St. Church in Chicago, an evangelical, inner-city church sponsored by Moody Church. At one point in his ministry, he burnt out, and for part of his recovery, he went to a Catholic nun for counseling and spiritual direction. She asked him what he felt like in ministry. He said that he feels like he is a pump, and everyone who comes by takes a turn at the handle, and the well has gone dry: its all been pumped away.
She tells him he is pumping of the surface: he has to dig the well deeper. Then this Catholic Nun says to this evangelical pastor, "Do you know what you need? You need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ."
Christians can often put such a strong emphasis on conversion, correct behavior and right theology that we forget about the relationship that we have been redeemed to.
If more of us were more honest in our Evangelism we would say, "You need to have a personal relationship with Jesus, but I’ll be darned if I know what that would look like!"
How do we dig the well deeper? How do we make sure it doesn’t go dry during the times during the tough times. How do we develop a relationship with our maker?
Different modes of prayer - Talking/Listening
We are very good at the talking. Those of us who have been taught to pray may have been taught the A.C.T.S. acrostic.
A = Adoration
C = Confession
T = Thanksgiving
S = Supplication, or asking for our needs
It is a great model, but it focuses on us doing all the talking, and prayer is supposed to be a relationship, a dialogue.
Do you have a person in your life that is all business? They come into the office and say "Mike, this is what we have to get done today..." You say, "Good Morning George " George just continues, You again say "Good Morning George" until George finally says "Good Morning Mike."
Often times our prayers are the same way, we are running around in our lives and we stop for a second and say, "Oh, God, I need you to save my friend Susan, heal Aunt Bessy, and stop that stupid cat from digging up my garden. Now where was I..." And God says "Good Morning Mike"
Quote from Children’s Letters to God.
Is reverend Coe a friend of yours, or do you just know him through business?
It is a great temptation for pastors to begin to have a business relationship with God – I see it in my own life. I think that there are some people who pray a great deal, but still keep their relationship with God one of business, or that of a penitent to a judge.
We must pray not just to speak to God, but also, to hear from Him what we are to speak. We are much better at talking than we are at listening. In many ways, nobody has trained us to listen; we need to learn how to listen.
Even more than listening to hear from God what we should speak back to him; we need to pray to dig the well deeper - to develop our relationship with God - to "Seek His Face"
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation -
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life -
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.