just an apprentice

the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Prayer of Jabez

There is a wonderful piece in the latest issue of Sojourners--The Prayer of Jabez falls short in Africa, by David Batstone.

This is a helpful piece that offers gracious correction of a theology prevelant in Christianity, particularly in North America (Wilkenson's book was just one small piece of perpetuating this type of theology). It is a Christianity that operates with the lens that God answers prayer when I see the material results and/or blessings. And when I don't see the results and/or blessings, somehow that is problematic. Something must be wrong. Well, yes. Something IS wrong, but we must have a long-term view of what is wrong. A view that extents beyond my individual situation. It is short-sighted to only see God's activity and purpuses coming in response to individual situations. It is not wrong to pray for God to act in individual situations, but our view of God must also see the larger scheme of human problems as God's heartfelt concern as well. The Biblical language that so vividly addresses this larger context of God's redemptive, healing action is found in Romans 8.

For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God's curse. All creation anticipates the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. for we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain an suffering.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don't even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. Romans 8:19-23a, 26

Almighty God, to whom our needs are known before we ask: Help me to ask only what accords with your will; and those good things which I dare not, or in my blindness cannot ask, grant for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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