prayer as a gift

Last night I was reading an excerpt from Tom Smail’s ‘Praying with Paul’, in BRF’s Quiet Spaces journal. Had one of those moments when I was struck by a mere few words.

He talked about how most of us, however theologically well-versed, carried an underlying sense that prayer and worship are things we must do in order to get in touch with God.  Somehow we have to cover the distance in order to communicate with him.  It’s a real effort – and we feel we need the right techniques and quite a lot of spiritual strength to even try and reach the ‘target’ of God.  It’s not something we would word that way, but it feels like it.

But then he suggests:

 “What if prayer were not this kind of task that daunts us, but a free gift graciously given and to be gratefully received? What if it were not the testing means by which we try to reach God but the kind provision that he makes to reach us?” Tom Smail, Praying with Paul

Prayer as God’s provision to us.  A different way of looking at something we may struggle with – a release to know that it is an opportunity and a privilege for us to be able to pray – to talk to God!

I’m thinking about prayer at the moment and I found this a very releasing way of looking at it – it’s not about the effort we make but the gift we’ve been given.  It becomes full of potential – ‘how can I use this gift?’, rather than ‘how can I make the effort?’

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