I have to say this one caught my attention on the Out of Ur blog… Old Men Will Dream Dreams: This pastor doesnâ€™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:
â€œWhatâ€™s wrong, God?â€? I asked when my hands were finally clenched. â€œAre you angry about something?â€?
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, â€œTHE PRAYER OF REPENTANCE.â€?
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.
â€œWhat is wrong, God?â€? I prayed again. â€œWhy are you angry about the Prayer of Repentance?â€?
Then the Voice came again. Not loud, but terse and deliberate: ITâ€™Sâ€¦TOOâ€¦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: â€œWhen you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.â€? (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. â€œI donâ€™t say much,â€? replied Mother Teresa, â€œmostly I just listen.â€? â€œAnd what does God say to you?â€? asked the interviewer. â€œHe doesnâ€™t say much,” she replied. “Mostly He just listens. And if you donâ€™t understand that, I canâ€™t explain it to you.â€?
Now this I want to learn to understand.