Books

Prayer and Waiting

From Mark Buchanan's Your God is Too Safe:

Prayer and waiting are intrinsically linked, joined at the hip. Prayer makes no sense apart from waiting. Prayer is about being made in the likeness of Christ. Conformed, reformed, transformed. If prayer was only about getting things - getting even, getting rich, getting well, getting justice - then we would call it something else. We have lots of names to describe the quest and method for getting those things: magic, medicine, capitalism, lobbying.

But prayer is not about bartering and bargaining with God, haggling for the best deal: a pound of piety for a remission of sickness. Prayer, at its heart, is about becoming like the crucified and risen Christ. And that is a work like wind carving stone. It is a slow, painful, toiling work, rarely swift or easy. It is riddled with wrenching setbacks, and its breakthroughs are more serendipitous than calculated. There are disciplines for prayer, to be sure, but no mechanisms. Gimmicks and panaceas - like glittery gimcrack lures for fisherman - are widely available and equally useless. There is simply no substitute for becoming like Christ other than being with Christ, and especially with Him in solitude and suffering and sorrow. And so prayer, like fishing, is about waiting. Prayer is the poetry of waiting.

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