We’ve begun a summer series focused on the book, Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation by Robert Mulholland Jr. We’ll explore the concept of spiritual formation that he compares to a journey and look at it through the lens of summer vacation we’re so familiar with.
Have you ever had a trip where your kid was talking… and talking… and talking…
The talking kept winding around from topic to topic with no seeming end or goal in mind. Sometimes it’s funny, but sometimes it can be exhausting.
The question is- what’s the goal of the conversations on a trip? So often in our world we are rather results oriented. We come at so many parts of life, including trips and conversations, with a specific result in mind or the assumption we need to get to some action. The reality is, however, that conversation is often more about relationships than it is about results.
The same is true of our prayer life. Often, we come into prayer and we have some goals in mind. I’m going to talk to God about… because what I’m hoping will happen is…. But while God wants us to speak to him about everything that is on our hearts and minds, the goal shouldn’t really be getting God to do some specific action. The point of the spiritual discipline of prayer is relationship. The more we speak to God the more we understand him and his work in our lives. We will sense him as truly our Father and feel a deep sense of belonging to him. We will lift our prayers to him, not just to ask him for something, but because we know he wants to talk to us and we just want to talk to him.
And in an interesting way, the more we speak to him in prayer, the more he often puts in our minds ways we can be his agents on earth to accomplish that which we’re praying about in some way. Remember, Luther explained, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done” by saying that God’s will and kingdom will come with or without our prayer, but that these petitions express that we want more of his will and kingdom to come in our lives too.
So, the next time you hear a kid jabbering away, smile, and appreciate the relationship, the trust, the love they’re building with you. And the next time you come into prayer, smile a little, and think of yourself as the child opening up to their dad, talking not just to get to a goal, but because you enjoy speaking with your dad.
Hope Lutheran Church & School