Michael Spencer on Prayer

Today I wish to direct your attention to a Michael Spencer post about prayer.  In it he expresses discontent with much about the evangelical practice of prayer.  Spontaneous conversations with God are not his thing, and I would imagine that there are at least some of you out there who feel similarly.  In fact, a goodly portion of what happens in the world of prayer, especially in charismatic circles, borders on religious showmanship.

The words of Scripture, especially the Psalms, provide much material to guide us in our approach to prayer.  With his teaching and example, and especially the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus modeled an approach to prayer that will keep us occupied for the better part of a lifetime.

Read:  My Problem with Prayer by Michael Spencer

Fr. Stephen Freeman: Theophany

Today I give you a post from Fr. Stephen Freeman.  Freeman is one of the most influential Orthodox bloggers, and he blogs at Glory to God for All Things.  The post is entitled “Theophany:  Showing the World to be the World“.

One of the problems with sacramental thought is the notion that when a thing is blessed it somehow becomes something other than what it really is.  (And this is why many evangelicals recoil at the sacramental way of looking at things.)  There is a problem here:  If this is true, then it limits the work of God in the sacrament to the church, the altar, the font, etc.  This creates a two-story sacramental order in which an object becomes blessed but the rest of the world around it remains exactly as it is.

Freeman lays out an alternative view in which the sacraments show us things as they really are.  It is us who fail to see things as they really are.  The Jordan is the Jordan, but we don’t see it as the Jordan, we just see it as a bunch of water flowing over a bunch of rocks.  This is secularism, the great heresy of our age:  a denial of the sacramental character of the world.  The world is not a material thing that exists apart from and devoid of God, rather it is the means by which God shows himself to us.  That is, n essence, the sacramental way of looking at things.

Read:  Theophany – Showing the World to be the World