18 November, 2006

Timeless Prayer: Loving Each Other

How does one comment on a prayer?

If you love the prayer, do you say so? It seems a little awkward, doesn't it? And the author of the prayer doesn't really want to be praised for it. The whole point was for Christ to praised!

There is a cool way to run with this.

Let me first digress, though.

Picture in your mind a rope. Not just any rope. Picture a cotton rope thick enough, long enough and strong enough to moor an aircraft carrier to a pier. Details don't matter, but this rope is bigger around than you are, and longer than any clothesline you have ever seen.

How is it made?

I don't know the process, but if you look at it, any rope is a collection of twisted ropes. Those ropes are collections of twisted cords. Those cords are collections of twisted threads. Those threads are collections of twisted fibers. And those fibers are grown from seeds.

So it is with the church.

The body of Christ extends from the beginning to eternity. Adam and Eve are its first fibers. Seth and Abel joined them. The Seed of God's Life was planted in their lives, and it bore fruit.

They became cotton bolls!

Adam and Eve were around long before Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, so someone had to work them into the rope of God by hand. From Wikipedia on Cotton, "When the cotton boll (seed case) is opened the fibres dry into flat, twisted, ribbon-like shapes and become kinked together and interlocked. This interlocked form is ideal for spinning into a fine yarn." The little cotton bolls had to become kinked together, and interlocked, so that they could be twisted into something amazing.

That kinking is what life does to us.

Life goes pear-shaped on us, and someone is there to help us through. Or we have things go wonderfully, and someone is there to rejoice with us. We are happy types, and the sad people around us cling to us; or we are melancholic types, and the happy people around us rejoice in our depth. We are different, and in our differences we catch at each other and interlock. It's chemistry, it's beautiful, and God deserves worship for making us this way.

But kinking isn't the end.

We have to be spun into something more.

Without the kinking, the spinning would not work. The Spinning Jenny of our lives is the body of Christ. The body twists us together, and applies that tension and friction that forges from our kinks a solid thread. Those threads, God uses to form His everlasting church, a rope strong enough to display the manifold wisdom of God, and to delight the omniwealthy Creator of all things.

There are a hundred things that can twist and entwine us together. Sitting and listening to a sermon every week together might be worth a half-a-turn, but you won't get any more than that out of me. It's working together that joins us together. Are you reaching out to your neighbors together? That will bind you together. Are you reaching out to the needy together? Are you bearing each other's burdens? Are you calling celebration dinners when someone graduates or survives some other trial? These things will entwine you together with dozens and hundreds of turns.

Worshipping together has the potential to bind us, too, if it is done with heart and everyone is heard.

A shared experience of true love toward God will make you see your brother in a whole new light. Hearing a sister declare the same awesome beauty of the Lord that was just moving you. Hearing a brother praise the Lord's majesty in just the way that you were feeling but could not express. Saying something so intimate, so risky about the Lord that you almost were silent, then hearing another saint pick up your words and carry them a little further. Being stirred by a sister's prayer, and feeling a little more for the Lord than you did 30 seconds ago, and turning that feeling into one more expression of Love for Jesus Christ.

These things forge a body. These things teach you to depend on one another.

We love the same Lovely One, and when we do it together, the work binds us together. Loving God is work as hard as digging a ditch, and as rich as chocolate pudding pie. It can be hard to start, and and hard to stop. The key is to build on each other's work.

Which brings me back to Timeless Prayer.

The best way to comment on a prayer is to pray.

First you read the prayer, and then you come back to it and pray it. If you like it, print it and pray it when you have a little more time. I suspect that pretending someone else is praying it will help. You are merely listening to her prayer. And as you see, touch, smell, hear, taste things of God in that prayer that stir you, stop and add your prayer to hers.

Come back later and type a little bit of your prayer as a comment on the prayer that stirred you.

So, we will provoke each other to love.

And so we will be wound together.

And so we will display the manifold beauty of the One Who loves us.


Anonymous said...

I like this.

DugALug said...

How does one comment on a prayer?

I'm for an international commitee where there are 12 judges and you throw the highest and lowest scores, and take the average of the rest... no wait that's skating.

Great post brother. As usual, makes me think tons.

God Bless

codepoke said...

Why don't I ever think of the really good ideas!

Hands down funniest suggestion I have heard all week - anywhere. :-)

Missy said...

After reading, I did this! It was exactly what I was asking myself after reading one of Milly's prayers that drove me to pray - How do I respond? Thanks.

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