Prodigal prayer

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.” … The older son said, “For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends.”
— from Luke 15

This is a story about two sons who are both selfish, and a father who is lavishly generous. As are all of Jesus’ parables, it’s a story about abundance. Notice that both of the sons treat the father the same: they do not care about him or his presence; they only want his stuff. Isn’t that how we pray most of the time? We ask God for stuff: “Heal this disease. Make this work out OK. Answer my petition.” But we don’t simply open ourselves to God’s presence. How seldom we pray, “God, no matter what happens, I just want to be with you.” It comes from our fear that there won’t be enough blessing. When we feel that God does not answer our prayers, it’s probably because we’re just asking for God’s stuff. But God’s answer to our prayer is always the same: “You are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.”

Even in praying for others we can pray our selfishness— “here’s what I want” —and forget to pray our generosity: “Here’s what I trust; here’s what I offer.” Christ invites us to be prodigal (recklessly extravagant) in prayer toward God and others, even those who have hurt us. This spirit of abundance is rooted in our most basic prayer: our openness to God’s presence and blessing, and our desire to be present for the One who is present for us. It is to pray, “God, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.”

Listen for God’s Presence, and entrust yourself to it.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve


Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes

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