Just to Be Near You

O God in Zion, to you even silence is praise!
You are the God who answers prayer;
all of humanity comes before you with their requests.

Though we are overcome by our many sins,
your sacrifice covers over them all.
And your priestly lovers, those you’ve chosen,
will be greatly favored to be brought close to you.
What inexpressible joys are theirs!
What feasts of mercy fill them in your heavenly sanctuary!
How satisfied we will be just to be near you!

You answer our prayers with amazing wonders
and with awe-inspiring displays of power.
You are the righteous God who helps us like a father.

Everyone everywhere looks to you,
for you are the confidence of all the earth,
even to the farthest islands of the sea.

What jaw-dropping, astounding power is yours!
You are the mountain maker who sets them all in place.

Psalm 65: 1-7 TPT

I am learning that prayer is not a work we do to impress God. Prayer is not duty. Prayer is not telling God what to do as if he is our servant. Prayer is definitely not manipulating God with fine flattering speeches or dramatic displays of emotional super-religiosity. These things may impress the people around us, but they do not impress God.

What impresses God is faith — believing he is who he says he is and trusting in his love.

Prayer is daring to come close to God in faith and humility and naked honesty. Sometimes, when we pour out our hearts, words flow. Sometimes we sit in silence not knowing what to say. In these moments, the Holy Spirit speaks our hearts when we can’t. In these moments the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts in the sounds of stillness.

Prayer is just being near him and knowing that no matter what, he loves us like no one else ever can.

Beached

A day at the beach

There’s nothing quite like a day at the beach to remind us that although we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, very very few of us have perfect bodies.

A lot of people avoid the beach, postponing enjoyment (often indefinitely) until they have bodies that match the images in their minds. Others just have fun in whatever shape they may be in (although a little more modest covering on some could help avoid awkward moments and the problem of averting one’s eyes.)

We can be pretty good at trying to dress up our hearts to look spiffier than they actually are too, layering them with politeness, accessorizing with colourful splashes of generosity and public service to detract from our less  attractive “problem” areas. (To be sure a little discretion can sometimes help avoid awkward moments there as well. Not every foible needs to be exposed in public.)

I wonder if there is room in the big C Church for a beach for the heart -a fun place where we can dare to let go of tailored suits or winter boots or freshly-pressed vestments (or even flak jackets) and exchange them for modest, but less disguising garments and just enjoy life together, soaking in the warmth of the sun.

I guess it’s called friendship.

It might even be called love.