Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Praying Life: Chapters 15-16

(A few friends and I are reading this book together.  Each week we will read two chapters and on Friday I will post my comments from the reading.  Others may add their thoughts in the comments section.  If you are interested in reading this book as well, here is the link for the Kindle version of the book.)

Chapters 15-16

- Before reading these chapters, I hadn't viewed James' words about asking as two extremes or "cliffs" as he called them.  More and more I see that it is easier for me to go to an extreme (in many areas) rather than finding a middle position that incorporates both truths.  On this particular subject, I find my tendency is to not ask because it may be selfish or I don't want to be let down by a "no" to my prayers.  

- It was convicting to read "our failure or reluctance to ask keeps us distant from God."  (Pg. 134, Loc. 1722)

- "Deep down, we just don't believe God is as generous as he keeps saying he is."  (Pg. 134, Loc. 1731)  Why is that?  Why can we so readily accept some truths we read in Scripture, but we can balk at/dismiss others?  May my perspective of God's generousness come from what He has said and not from what I think I have experienced!

- They highlighted this in the book, but I think it deserves to be noted again: " 'Asking in Jesus' name' isn't another thing I have to get right so my prayers are perfect.  It is one more gift of God because my prayers are so imperfect."  (Pg. 135, Loc. 1740)

- I appreciated his encouragement to ask God heart questions when asking Him for material things.  (Pg. 142, Loc. 1825)

- It was surprising to me to read "We need to ask the body of Christ, Jesus' physical presence on earth, the same questions we ask God."  (Pg. 143, Loc. 1833)  On one hand, I see the practical value of involving others.  I have seen that just trying to explain something clearly to another helps me work through things in my own mind.  Also, as the author pointed out, my heart can be so deceitful that I can pray and then manipulate things so they seem to be the answer I wanted.  On the other hand, I wonder how far he would extend this.  I was left wondering when to include others and ask them the questions, and when to simply address them to God.

I've had my say, what say you?

1 comment:

  1. I also appreciated his chart about the “cliffs” and then what right asking should look like. I thought his examples of both Christ in Gethsemane and the 3 Hebrew children facing the furnace were very appropriate and helpful. His phrase, “these men were asking boldly and surrendering completely” is the perfect balance in prayer that I want to continue to strive for!

    Again, he emphasizes that the abiding life is one of partnership with God (pg.138). If I'm not asking God for things, whether for my life or the lives of others, then I'm greatly hindering what God wants to do. I remembered that prayer is a privilege but also a great responsibility.

    Including the body of Christ in my decision-making was not a new thought to me, but it was one I needed to hear again. I lack in this area of getting Godly counsel from others, mostly because I just don't take the time to do it.

    His distinguishing between guidance and wisdom (pg.145) was something I never really thought about. I can agree with the point he's making that I don't just need help, I need personal wisdom and revelation from the Spirit to make sure my motives and methods and everything about what I'm doing is right.