What a silly sentence.
We don't put our need for a focus on prayer behind us. Ever. To the contrary, what this week has taught me, this week of focused prayer, of merely having a 30 minute prayer time in the lobby of the church building each day, and two Sundays of sermons, is that I, and our church, and the American Evangelical Church suffers from a pronounced case of prayerlessness.
Maybe it is because we've forgotten how to simply talk to God. Maybe no one ever taught us in the first place. I'd like to try and address that on Sunday.
So rather than really wrapping anything up, what I hope this week will do is launch us into a year-long, life-long pursuit of regular, deep, winsome, vigorous, loud, quiet, silent, tear-filled, dancing-around, heart-felt, anguished, and joyful conversations with God. That we would see the critical nature of the Word which has come from God to exchanging words with God. That the church-speak of "quiet time" would vanish from our lexicons, for I rarely see much of anything in the way of quiet going on when people in the Bible are talking to God, and God is talking to people in the Bible.
I've found an unexpected counselor toward deepening my conversations with God this past week. His name is Habbakuk. That some call him a "minor" prophet is silly, for his prayer song recorded in the Bible is filled with a major message:
In sum, the salvational message of [Habakkuk], who must witness the breakup of nations, centers on the possession of God himself. Since everything else has been taken away from them, they must look to him alone. All other blessings may be removed; yet they still will possess the ultimate blessing. All other things can have meaning only as they possess God himself and are possessed by him.
...Habakkuk's message is all about life - the life of faith despite many calamities. Integral to such a life is the singing of songs praising the redeemer and sustainer of life...a book beginning with complaint and distress ends in joy. Faith triumphs in life despite many calamities. (O. Palmer Robertson, The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah)
Habakkuk has a story to tell, a story that should be sung (Hab. 3:19b).
It is a story filled with pain and despair, a heated conversation with God, the remembrance of the Word, and a soaring vision of Yahweh. It is a story filled with hope.
Would you come and learn with me this Sunday? Learn from this unexpected counselor about how to have a conversation with God, and what that means for every aspect of your life?
See you then.