Monday, August 06, 2007

Constant prayer

The Bible just isn't a long list or a recipe book.

The Apostle Paul advises the first church at Thessalonika to "pray unceasingly". Jesus tells his disciples that if they abide in Him, He will abide in them. Some translators use remain instead of abide, but the key point is that sense of Christ's taking up residence in us, some merging of our heart/mind and His (as His was merged with God's)

If prayer is the soul's intimate connection/dialogue with God, then there is some connection between our need to pray unceasingly (abiding in Him) and Jesus' abiding in us.

But it's not in the Bible. At least I can't find it. No direct connection between any specific activity and Jesus' (or the Spirit's) taking up residence in us and vice versa. Some western Christians will say that we "receive the Spirit" through some specific act of God's doing -- baptism, Jesus' breathing on his disciples. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about (comm)union, mind and soul, through constant prayer (or in constant prayer). And there's no question that's a stream of sensibility in there. But no single aha! line to point to.

The eastern churches (eg. the Orthodox) take it for granted, this sense of (comm)union in prayer. Besides scripture, they have always depended on the revelation of the early fathers and mothers, who tended to "mystical" description, rather than the west's "rational" argument.

I believe it with all my heart, this possible (comm)union with Christ, through/in constant prayer. And I'm preaching on it Sunday, which Scripture is making more difficult by the minute.

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