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Lectio > Gen 3.8-10 > Original prayer

December 5, 2009

“Our natural desire to pray come from creation. We are made in the image of God. Our inability to pray comes from the Fall.” (The Praying Life by Paul E. Miller p.15)

Genesis 3.8-10 “When they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God. God called to the Man: ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid.'” (The Message)

Since you are created in the image of God you have the natural ability and desire to communicate with God living an interactive life with the One who’s image you bear. Communicating with God is as natural as a child’s desire to be near to and interact with their mother/father/care-giver from birth. It’s an absolute no-brainer. However, that natural desire, that instinct was and remains marred – not destroyed yet severely hindered – by disobedience.  Our inclination now is to hide… God’s inclination however has not changed at all: The God-of-the-Garden seeks us out, finds us and initiates contact even while we make absurd attempts to hide. It seems that prayer, the interactive life with God, has become a never-ending game of hide and seek.

One of the most important lessons on how to live an interactive life with God that Jesus spoke of on more than occasion is to become like a little child. The thing about kids, and we’ve all observed this (and most of us will likely have an embarrassing first person account of this): They have no filter. They say what is on their mind, their faces betray their feelings, forever wearing they’re heart on their sleeve and their opinions on their lips.

So a few things emerge for me in this passage as routes back into the interactive life with God:

1. Let yourself be found. God is actively seeking. The radiation of his loving and longing for us washes over us constantly. Including right now, right where you are, wherever that may be.

2. The goal in prayer is not be constantly in a state of intimate communication with God anymore than the goal of marriage is to be in a constant of ecstatic intimacy with our partner. Those special times are great, without a doubt! But we can’t build a life together on non-stop ecstatic union. Ditto for the interactive life with God. God will seek us out for special times like a walk “during the cool of the day.” Let those times be what they are but don’t make them the goal. Life is more comprehensive than that.

3. Be who you are in God’s presence. That is harder than it may sound or seem. Our broken nature tries to hide, to cover up. Just being ourself in God’s loving presence is the way back in. Let the filters go and the defenses down. We can – no, we must – share our anger, our lusts and our joys and passions with God. He knows it all anyway but we have trained ourselves as expert hiders and constantly look for new ways to avoid honesty. The Pslams can be our school in this new way. This book of collected, communal prayers give voice to the widest possible array of emotions and real life desires…. and all of them get poured out – and not necessarily figured out or neatly packaged either – in God’s presence. Therein is the essence of trust, of faith: we pour it out, God sorts it out… over a lifetime.

>>> Where have you witnessed the “filterlessness” of a child?

>>> What hiding techniques are you using right now to keep yourself from God’s presence? (Here’s my confession: blogging about prayer may just be my heightened technique for avoiding prayer. That’s my cue. Later friends, Someone is calling…)

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