Prayer Tug-of-War

Tug_large1 What do you think of Richard Foster’s comment about prayer:

We today yearn for prayer and hide from prayer.  We are attracted to it and repelled by it.  We believe prayer is something we should do, even something we want to do, but it seems like a chasm stnds between us and actually praying.  We experience the agony of prayer-lessness.

**From Foster, Richard. Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1992), p.7


  1. hey ken, in regards to people not praying because they believe it works is rooted in what Andrew has said above; that if we pray for God to really change us, to really move us, to really take control, then he just might…and so we choose independence (individualism) over dependance (community and trust) with God. People don’t pray because on the one hand they don’t think God really can cause change to occur…and they avoid it just as much when they believe he will change the course of our lives.
    Now, of course, that must be countered with the fact that when we are able to only minutely grasp how incredible such life change can be, we willingly pray for God to direct the course of our lives. My original comment is somewhat of a surface response as you rightly assumed.
    I admit that coming to grips with giving up everything isn’t easy, and when we rely on God we must be willing to sacrifice…and that isn’t easy…so we struggle between believing that prayer works and actually engaging in it.

  2. Andrew… your comment reflects a post I just wrote for tomorrow morning. I’ve been reading a lot of John Tauler’s sermons – he was a monk in the 1300’s. Your comment reminded me of something he said: “But truly, if the thinkers would obey and surrender themselves to God alone, they would succeed much more nobly and happily because their reason serves them nicely in all matters. Ah, those who really surrender themselves to him, no drop of blood would be too small to serve especially well this purpose.”

  3. I’m often guilty, Dan. I’ve been talking and writing a lot about prayer lately. Much of it stems from an incredible season of prayer in my life… and now I’m trying to figure out what happened! In the process, I’m being more and more challenged that I need to pray and pray and pray and pray. But I rush around so often. I’m trying to learn to rest and breathe and wait in prayer quite a bit better. Thanks for the challenge!

  4. Paul- I like the simplicity of your comment; and I think you’re on to something here. But I hope you’ll tell us more about what you mean by “Second, they believe it works.” Why would believing that prayer works keep people from praying?

  5. It is that never ending battle within us all between the Spirit and the Self. The Spirit choosing its freedom and reaching for the God it longs for, denied with Adam and renewed with Christ. The Self content to sit and glory in its meager riches, afraid of change, afraid of the world, afraid of looking in any other direction but that which is its own dim shadow cast from the half-glow of a failing inner flame.

  6. Maybe we talk too much about prayer instead of actually doing it. Contemplative prayer maybe be more difficult as it take that elusive amount of time. Why do we rush past the things that our souls yearn for… WHY!?

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