I have to say this one caught my attention on the Out of Ur blog… Old Men Will Dream Dreams: This pastor doesn’t advocate hearing voices, but he happened to hear one. I read about this pastor’s encounter, and I don’t know the guy… but I believe him. It’s an intriuging message, for sure, and the more that I move from an evangelical perspective toward a more liturgical one, the more I see it as a message which has a ring of authenticity to it. Quoting from the article:

“What’s wrong, God?� I asked when my hands were finally clenched. “Are you angry about something?�

That is when I heard the voice. It was calm but deliberate and focused. It was not loud but clearly audible. I do not know if it was outside the room, inside the room, or just inside my heart. In any case, there was no mistaking what it said. It said, “THE PRAYER OF REPENTANCE.�

I was frozen by apprehension, riveted to the bed. Was God angry about the Prayer of Repentance?

Yeah, that’s right, what problem could God possibly have with a repentance prayer? The article goes on to explain the prayer drafted by his denomination, providing its context and then quoting it in full.

“What is wrong, God?� I prayed again. “Why are you angry about the Prayer of Repentance?�

Then the Voice came again. Not loud, but terse and deliberate: IT’S…TOO…LONG.

Oooh. Ouch. Read the context and the prayer, and maybe you’ll get this right away — at least, that was my take. Continuing to quote from a bit further down in the piece:

As a pastor in the Christian in the Reformed tradition I have always believed we should be distrustful of anything that allegedly comes from the Spirit of God if it is not based on the Bible. So I was intrigued by the verse that popped into my head while recuperating from the encounter: “When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.� (Matthew 6:7, NIV)

Yup, that’s it. When I read the prayers of the apostles in the New Testament and when I look at some of the liturgical prayers, they’re short, rich, deep, and meaningful. Many are prayers that bear repeating, slowly and contemplatively. I recall past prayer lives and though they felt more vibrant at the time, in some ways, they feel like I’ve been babbling. I think about something I read or heard once about Mother Theresa….

Mother Teresa was once asked by an interviewer what she said to God when she prayed. “I don’t say much,â€? replied Mother Teresa, “mostly I just listen.â€? “And what does God say to you?â€? asked the interviewer. “He doesn’t say much,” she replied. “Mostly He just listens. And if you don’t understand that, I can’t explain it to you.â€?

Now this I want to learn to understand.

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