A few years ago, I went through an interesting prayer exercise. We were paired up with another person, whom we did not know very well, for prayer time. We did not share our prayers and concerns — rather we sat together and prayed for each-other as the Spirit led us. It was difficult. I didn’t know what to pray — what to ask for — how to intercede. I spent the first few minutes rather frustrated. But, then I remembered that God already knew and I needed him to tell me. After a period of time, we shared with the other person what our prayers were. When I heard what this woman had prayed for me, I was blown away — and vice versa. To be clear, it was not a psychic experience — we didn’t all of a sudden know the names of long lost relatives. But, in opening up ourselves to the Spirit — and not having the filter of knowing the other person’s perceived wants and needs — we were able to pray things that were much bigger than either of us would have ever prayed for ourselves.
I think we often spend a lot of time regurgitating things we hear from others — or we have presuppositions about what the Bible says or what we think God wants for our lives (or what we want God to want for our lives). And, they aren’t necessarily always bad things, but we forget to let the Scriptures speak for themselves. We have conditioned ourselves to hear what we want to hear. And that can be scary because that’s when we start taking Scripture out of context so that it fits for us. We can also deprive ourselves from knowing God more fully because our “favorite passages” emphasize only certain attributes and characteristics. We are in danger of having a lower view of God than we should because we don’t comprehend how big our God is — and what he is capable of doing in our world…and our lives.
I pray that we can all hear God’s words in a new and fresh way this Lenten season.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
(Isaiah 55:3 ESV)