Prayer works —-Day #14 out of the 30 day challenge to blog

Disclaimer for today & now tomorrow:

While I may have a different theological and/or philosophical view on cussing than you. I do believe in being respectful. As Dave Mullins put it I think cussing may be more of a relational issue than a theological one.

So with that being said, I’d like to give you on opportunity to stop reading now. Because I will most likely be cussing a lot in this one…

___

One more word about yesterday’s blog “prayer, walkie-talkie’s, & crying somewhere in New Mexico”…Ironically after all that chit-chat about prayer I go to church, and what do I hear? I hear the pastor say…”Prayer works everybody”. If I was sitting on a chair I might have threw it at him.

Maybe it was because I just spent a few hours thinking, reflecting, and writing on the subject at prayer, or I had too much coffee. But either way I was fired up. Other than that, it was a fine sermon, as far as sermons go…and the guy seemed like a nice guy who was just doing his best to preach Jesus and love people. The guy & I could probably be friends is what I am saying…but that dude should still duck if he says it down the road, and I’m in the audience, sitting in a folding chair.

I’ve had it up to hear with that expression. And you know what? We’ve all said it. Hell I’m sure I’ve said it. But I’m just at a point in my life’s journey on the path of following Jesus where it grosses me out. You know why? Jesus is my Savior, friend, brother, leader, & Lord. Abba God, is my Absolutely Other, King, God, and the lover of my soul. The Holy Spirit is the invisible convicted, guider, and comforter of my spirit. The triune God, is three in one. They are in community with each other in perfect love. And they have invited me in. I get to bask in their underserved and unconditional love. The story is quite heroic and beautiful and amazing that God sent his son Jesus to die for me…and Jesus left his spirit to be with me when he left to go be with his Daddy.

God loves me.

And yet, someone says, prayer works…. I go what the fuck are you talking about? That’s my God you’re talking about their buddy. That’s my friend. He died for me, out of love. And guess what he wanted in it for return, nothing. It was a free gift.

So what the fuck are you selling? If you pray this or that, repetitiously, you get_________?

Pick one family member you adore. For me it’s my late grandma. And imagine some dude was like…hey if you talk to so and so’s family member….or David Schult’z grandma….”It’ll work”….If you were eavesdropping on this conversation….this being a family member you adore you might go….Hold the fuck on…what do you mean it works? What are you trying to get? What’s your angle bud?

And they might reply very religiously and well meaning like….”No, you see the scriptures say if two or three are Gathered in his name…and he commands us to pray….and to ask….and a lot of times we don’t have because we don’t ask”

You might get it. You might even have compassion, but it still doesn’t mean you might not want to throw a chair at them. Why? What’s that urge in me that wanted to throw my chair at the dude?

I think it’s this. God wants you. And yet what so often happens in our prayer life, or just even in our walk, and life with God is something so simple, yet so toxic to every part of our heart, even if it’s in the hands of God….and it’s this….You want the things of God more than God himself. You start worshiping the Giver of Gifts versus instead of the Giver himself.

In terms of the of the most life giving teaching I think Jesus gave us when he taught us how to pray both through lesson & example…it was this….”Let your will be done.”

When he’s teaching the disciples to pray he says…”Pray like this….OUr father who’s in heaven…hallowed be thy name….they kingdom come…thy will be done.”

And then in the Garden, when he was praying with tears of blood and asking his Abba to let him off the hook and find another way than to die on the cross…praying “Take this cup from me….” But then comes the most important part of the prayer….”Take this cup from me….but nevertheless let your will be done.”

Chrisitanity was founded on a guy named Jesus who was 100% a Jewish Man, and also 100% God…who died on a cross following the will of God. Most of his followers died martyr’s with the exception of John who was marooned on an Island. Jesus himself said, “If you really want to follow me…deny yourself, die to yourself, and follow me.” So….I say pray your heart out…ask him for whatever you want…I say go for it….but please don’t try to “work” anything….if you want to be like Jesus when it comes to teaching prayer…teach the most important part…the part that says…”But nevertheless….let your will be done.”

If that teaching was running rampant in the church…than maybe I could stop hearing the phrase over and over and over again…”Hey guys prayer works…”

Gee, I hope you mean submitting to God’s will, and you actually start hungering and desiring and wanting his desires above your desires….is that what you mean? I really hope so…but I have the feeling in the pit of my stomach you don’t mean that…I have a feeling that you mean getting something from God.

My Grandma was very sweet and giving. She’d give you the shirt off her back. Which no one would want that to happen. No one. But if somebody, even a pastor was having a conversation with her…and came outside after having tea with her…and said…”It worked…talking with her worked….I got this or that.” Guess what I would do?…..YOU GUESSED IT…I’d throw a chair at him.

As you’re reading this, how do you feel? Are you going? That schultz….oh man he’s got some anger issues…he needs to learn to be a little more merciful, calm, and gracious ….well, folks, I hear you…and you know what…I do need to be more of all those things…but I’m also trying to be like Jesus…and do you know what Jesus did when he was overwhelmed with loyalty and love with his Abba Father God?

He went out and made a whip, started flipping over tables, and drove those assholes out of the temple, declaring “Stop turning my father’s house into a marketplace!”

Please notice he wasn’t kicking them out of church…he was kicking the activity out of church, but he sure let them know he was upset. He didn’t come up like a flower power hippie…and go…”Hey man this ain’t groovy.” He took care of business if you know what I’m saying. I love that side of Jesus. The ass kickin’ side.

Because if we ignore that side of Jesus…than we are just guilty of reductionism when it comes to having a full view of the Jesus we see in scriptures.

But I really want you to see this…he did that out of love. Love for his Abba God, and the people themselves that were selling doves, turning God’s house into a marketplace.

Today, it’s different because the house of God is no longer a building, but a people. But I still smile when I walk in and see a coffee shop kiosk inside a church building…because I go…you’re lucky buildings are no longer the house of God…or you might see a tough looking Jesus coming inside with a whip saying…”Really, you turned my church into a starbucks? I don’t think so”

But rest easy. Keep the starbucks. I for one enjoy the coffee. I’m just saying your lucky things changed. We are all lucky things changed…Now God doesn’t reside only in buildings, but also within our hearts.

Just stop the trying to get something from God thing, and bask in God himself. He’s the goodnews of the gospel. My buddy and I were having this really heavy technical theological conversation a few weeks back on defining the exact term of what the gospel is….and I kept saying what I just said…Jesus is the goodnews of the gospel….and he said…well yeah, but technically that’s not the definition of the gospel…it’s “God sent his son Jesus to die on the cross to pay for the sin of sinners, and was raised to new life to bring life and whosoever believe in him and surrenders their life are born again…”And I was like yeah, okay, but I guess what I’m saying that every story, or book, or movie has the best part…and maybe what I’m saying is….that God is the best part of the story. Let’s stop turning Christianity into a timeshare presentation…If you believe now and accept Jesus you will now get_________and if you order today we will also ship you_______________ and ___________ at no extra cost.

Prayer works. I say who gives a shit if it does. I say fuck that. I say teach people to say…”Lord sure I have requests that I really want…I really want my loved ones not to die….and I want this raise at work…and I want to know what I should do with my life…..but you know what I want more…I want whatever you want…..and you may want my loved one to be with you more than with me….and you may want me to get fired from my job because you’ve got something else in mind….and you may never want me to figure out what to do with my life…because it’s an idol in my heart…and because you love me you are not giving me my idols…instead you are giving me you.”

So yeah, I guess prayer does work. Especially if what you mean is, that it’s a great tool in the hands of God to change your selfish desires, into his desires, and it’s a wonderful incubator of learning that God is all that matters. But no more teaching people even in the tiniest ways, even with two words, that prayer is there for you to get this from him…or you are gonna have a chair flying at your head. Why? I love my Abba God…and I love you…and I say it’s better to have a thump on your head so you can realize that you are the house of God now, not a building…and you shouldn’t make it a telemarketing scheme where you are trying to act or pray a certain way to get things from God…you’re house is there for your Abba to dwell in you and love on you…no matter what you have or don’t have or what you will or won’t have.

Okay, I was going to write something totally different today. And this was only going to be a few words on this whole “prayer works” thing….I guess I’ll wait to share what I was going to share today…for tomorrow…Here is a direct link to my blog: davidleoschultz.wordpress.com

I guess I should go take out that disclaimer on cussing. But it’s probably good that I have more than one. Because tomorrow’s blog might need two disclaimers.

David Leo Schultz

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~ by David Leo Schultz on October 19, 2015.

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