The teens here in Columbus, OH are about to begin school meaning the Metzes will be on a more predictable schedule, at least for a little while. Everyone kn0ws I love fall, the weather and football mostly. I can’t wait for things to get rolling. Today is a beautiful day in Columbus. We’ve finally kicked the 90-something degree days for awhile. Clark is plodding right along. Won’t be long before he begins to crawl. He keeps getting hung up ontop of one of his feet. Today is Mary Beth’s birthday. 28 in case you’re wondering. She’s getting old.
So much for personal ramblings. I have gone a few pages further with Willard last week. He has a great discussion on prayer. He teaches adjucntlly at (a school I am considering pursuing my Doctorate of Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary). He would be a great spiritual guide. His discussion of asking I found very helpful in my own prayer life. As a good evangelical I have been impressed upon by the sovereignty and might of God. His greatness is what rules the universe. He is above choice. His will is supreme. This is a great doctrine. However, what implications does this then have on prayer? For me it has led in a very low view of prayer. After all, why ask God for something when he is plenty big enough to grant it or not on his own?
Willard emphasizes two stories from Scripture that I needed to be reminded of. One was Moses upon Mt. Sinai where God decides to destroy the people because of their revolt of the golden calf. God decided he would destroy them all and start over with Moses. We usually see this as a test on Moses’ part, but there is no reason that we should read that into the text. We are told that God relented – that he changed his mind because of the prayer of Moses. Would that God change his mind about many things in my life and many people that I come into contact with! Of course my prayers are powerful and effective. Of course God hears them! Of course God needs to hear more!
The other story is Hezekiah. He is told he is sick and is going to die, and he prays to God and asks him to change his mind . . . and again God “gives in” and allows him to live for fifteen more years (I think it was 15). Had Hezekiah not prayed that prayer would he have died earlier? We have every indication to think that he would have. Had Moses not prayed his prayer, would God have destroyed all of Israel? We have no reason to think that Moses was all that stood before him and doing it.
At a philosophical level there is much to be discussed regarding the nature of God and the idea of his “relenting” or “repenting.” Theologians have long gotten lost in long diatribes regarding this or that theory, but the new emerging narrative theology offers much hope in understanding this aspect of God.
First of all, an appeal to the narrative of Scripture offers us the two examples above of God’s mind change. Why did he change his mind? Instead of endless, cold arguments, what if we appealed to the love that God had for Moses and Hezekiah? Could it be that their stature before God was special and that he listened to them? Why does this have to lessen our view of God? If anything it magnifies it in that God’s love is further exemplified.
God loves me so much that he wants to hear from me, in a way that I want to hear Clark babble. It doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t help me out, but it rmains beautiful music in my ears. Our prayers in the same way our music to God’s ears. In Revelation they are incense coming up before his throne. My love for God should be directly resulting in my desire to pray more often, more intently, and more in depth.
My daily prayer echoes the prayer of the disciples at Jesus’ feet: “Lord, teach me to pray.”