By Russ Pirie of Burlington, Ontario, Canada
…and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. -Ephesians 5:2
For as long as I can remember I have had a very good relationship with God. I truly believed that God heard my prayers. I vividly can remember as a child lying in bed praying to God that I wanted a carpenter’s toolbox, filled with tools. I made a deal with God. “I will build you a church if you give me those tools.”
I was so sure that God would answer my prayer right then and there that I actually reached down beside my bed fully expecting my hand to touch the wood of the toolbox. Yes, I expected it to be made of wood, not metal. After all, carpenters make things out of wood. I kept reaching farther and farther until I nearly tumbled out of bed. There was no toolbox.
Why? What happened? Didn’t God listen to me? Surely there was a mistake. I had enough faith, so why did I not get what I wanted when I wanted it?
Many years have passed. I have thought of that incident often, not because I became disillusioned. No, I think of it because I recognize that I had the proverbial faith of a child. I have a different perspective now, a perspective which I could not have had then.
I now believe that God did answer my prayer, but not in the way I ever expected. As a child, I wanted to build a physical church. Now, I realize that God has indeed given me many tools to build a church of people. I am blessed to have a calling which allows me to build up people. Isn’t the building up of people what church is supposed to be about?
Let us build God’s church together every day.
“Awake, my soul!” (Psalm 57:8 NRSV)
The Prayer of the Heart
Early Christian disciples desired to take seriously the scripture mandate to pray “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The prayer of the heart invites us to pray “continuously” by repeating and returning to a prayer phrase planted for intentional reflection and deepening. Choose a word or phrase (from scripture, hymnody, or personal reflection) that has meaning for you. The Jesus Prayer is one form of the prayer of the heart: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” (Luke 18:35-43). Invite this simple phrase to repeat in your heart throughout the day, awakening your soul to God’s presence.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.