Magic formula? Not...and that's good
Encouraging dialogue today calmed many of the ‘warnings’ I’d received. In the author, Larry Crabb’s words – this book isn’t about a model prayer – centering prayer, contemplative prayer, liturgical prayer, or any other ‘magical’ formula. In his words there are “no means to manipulate [God], no ways to persuade Him to do things our way”. It is, instead, a personal story or discovery of ‘a way to relate to God that “lets us hear Him speak…a way to know God so well that the deepest desire of His heart actually becomes the deepest desire of ours, and that frees us to ask God for what we really want, with confidence…because what we want now matches what He wants.”
This puts me in the mind of Psalm 37:4 - Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Larry Crabb’s acrostic PAPA outlines what he calls relational prayer. It seems basic to me, but don’t we sometimes miss the “simple” basics as we search for a deeper walk through studies, commentaries, and teachers?
P is for presenting yourself to God without pretense. (not coming to God with the public personality – but opening up to what is really going on inside you.) At this point there is no encouragement where to look but I recognize that I seldom willingly recognize who or what I have become unless I look into God’s mirror – the Bible
Romans 1:20-22 clarifies what happens when God’s people stray away from God’s mirror:
Rom. 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Rom. 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Rom. 1:22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.
An unusual Bible translation, ironically called The Mirror Translation concludes in verse 23 “Their losing sight of God made them lose sight of who they really were.”
If I want to find who I really am, I need look INTENTLY (having the mind or attention firmly directed or fixed; engrossed) into the mirror of God’s Word.
James 1:23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror James 1:24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
James 1:25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
This is what I believe is being said: Seriously and honestly look intently into God’s Word – recognize and admit to God who and what I am. Know that God uses His law to reveal His standard – a standard that I am incapable of meeting without Christ. Be free to say this is me right now, God, and I seriously need your makeover skills, particularly in named areas.
I just wish it was said more clearly, and was presented with the scripture to explain and enforce it. Perhaps he will later in the book…
Continued from Part One
Larry Crabb's books are available at Treasures in Racine - 4103 Durand Ave. or check them out online