Good morning. It is Wednesday, September 9, 2015. Hump Day.
Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is prosopopoeia. No, this is not someone who is highly favorable toward Mexican desserts. This noun means, “A rhetorical device by which an imaginary, absent, or dead person is represented as speaking or acting; the introduction of a pretended speaker; an instance of this,” “a figure of speech by which an inanimate or abstract thing is represented as a person, or as having personal characteristics, esp. the power to think or speak; an instance of this,” or, “a person or thing in which some quality or abstraction is embodied; the embodiment or epitome of something.”
Today is Teddy Bear Day. How can anyone not like that?
Last night’s Huddle went well. Except for the part where I got assigned to lead next week’s Huddle. They wanted me to lead two in a row. I said let’s see how next week goes, then make that decision.
Christi’s leg muscle popped again, during work, yesterday. Apparently, she quit wearing the boot, thinking she had given it enough time. She went ahead and bowled after work, though. And it sounds like she had a good time, anyway. I’m not sure what the next step is on this leg pain, though.
Tonight, we don’t have anything planned, so we get a middle of the week break between our Huddle nights. Then Friday night, we head to Oklahoma.
I learned of two “celebrity” deaths yesterday. Judy Carne, the “Sock it to me” girl from Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, died Monday, as did Martin Milner, whom we used to watch on Adam 12, when I was a kid.
Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 103:1-3.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
“Here he instructs us that God is not deficient on his part in furnishing us with abundant matter for praising him. It is our own ingratitude which hinders us from engaging in this exercise.” (p 253)
(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
I’m continuing in the section of “touchstones” under the heading, “What Prayer Is.” The second touchstone is, “Responding to the Word–Prayer Is Conversing with God.”
In the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, the Lord God walked with Adam and Eve. The idea of “walking” with someone, in Scripture, is more than just having a stroll together. It is deeper than that, indicating friendship and relationship, because when people walk together, they also talk together. “Prayer in Jesus’ name and the power of the Spirit is the restoration of that single most precious thing we had with God in the beginning–free communication with him.”
There are at least two different ways to think about prayer as dialogue. One way is that of “responding to God’s voice discerned subjectively within the heart.” In this method, one sits quietly and waits, as though waiting to hear the voice of God. In this method, one decides that the “voices” heard are “not merely psychological but the voice of God within.” Another way is to “understand God as primarily speaking to us through the Scripture.” Martin Luther has told us that he believes the “Spirit convicts and illumines as we read it, and so we hear him through his Word.” Keller has clearly indicated that the latter is the most reliable understanding.
If we go with the first understanding, Scripture becomes entirely unnecessary, and “we can go back and forth with God within our own hearts.” This approach is completely unreliable. “J.I. Packer observes that once we understand prayer as conversation, we must regularly link thoughtful, scriptural meditation with prayer. Meditation is a bridge between biblical interpretation and study on the one hand and free prayer on the other.” So we read Scripture, consider what our reading has shown us about God, and then turn that into praise and prayer. This is vital in our endeavor to know God.
I confess that I cannot help but think of this old hymn as I’m reading about this.
Father, I desire to walk with Jesus. I desire to walk with you, speaking and listening to you. May my life be one continuous conversation with you. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. As I go about my day, may my heart be drawn to consider truths that I have read about you in Scripture, turning those into praise and prayer. Teach me how to be silent, as well, as I consider what the Scriptures teach me about you. Teach me the proper form of meditation that can bring me alongside you, and help me become engaged in this conversation with you.
I pray for this day, as always praying for safe travel on the roads to work and back for Christi and me. I pray for her leg to stop hurting. May you bring healing. I pray, as well, for the rest of our family, that your grace and mercy would rain down on all of them today. Show your great love to all of us.
Come, Lord Jesus.
As we pray today, may we consider that we are engaged in conversation with God, and that it is important to begin this conversation with Scripture and meditation.
Grace and peace, friends.