Stop Praying

Yesterday our Home Group started reading and discussing Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  Everyone I know who has read the book has raved about how good it is and how it has really challenged and grown them.  I’ve tried on about 3 occasions to read the book (in fact you can see it in my book section).  I’m confident that I will finally get through it this time (maybe because I have conviction, commitment AND connections!)

Chapter one is titled “Stop Praying” which essentially means “stop praying and take a moment to really consider who God is before you start talking to Him – or at Him”.  Francis helps us refresh our view of who God really is – creator of the universe and one who takes personal interest in us.  Of course it’s difficult for us to grasp who God is.

I shared with the group last night that there’s something I learned about myself this week.  That I need to be ok with the fact that I will never fully understand who He is.  I have so many questions about Him and love to think about Him and His great complexity and simplicity.  I like to try to figure out how to picture Him existing outside of time and the universe and being able to focus in on small things like me and molecules and atoms and protons.  But there are times where things don’t add up and I’m not sure if God is this way or that.  Chan says it is frustrating to not be able to understand God and I agree.  But I’ve come to grips with the reality that I will never understand fully who He is.  That is freeing because when I begin to try to figure it out I remember I don’t have to and I move on.

I started to realize that this is partly because of a trust issue.  Isn’t it true that sometimes we feel we need to know exactly who God is and how He works in our life?  We know God’s promises and that He works all things together for the good and all that, but sometimes we just need to know what to expect – to know what His plan is, exactly, to work things out for us.  But I guess trust is an important aspect of any relationship.  We certainly want people to trust us.  I can understand God desiring the same of us.

In the descriptions of God in the Bible (Revelation 4; Isaiah 6), as explored in Chan’s book, the writers struggle to use earthly words to describe their visions.  Jewels, fire, thunder, etc.  I wonder if they would have any better luck today discribing the throne room of God now that our imaginations contain much wider boundaries thanks to movies and other creative demonstrations.

The best take away from this chapter for me was to consider what our view of God is and how that effects our relationship and interaction with Him.  Having a true understanding of who God is, in my opinion, knocks a man over with humility and feelings of unworthiness and awe knowing how God feels about us and what God did for us.

Before you talk to God, consider if you are talking to a far away being, an abstract idea, if you are just speaking you requests out loud to the air, or if you are believing you are speaking to a person.  Before you enter into a time of worship at church (or somewhere else) before you even walk into the room pause to remind yourself of who God is and why He’s given us so many reasons to worship Him and sing to Him and sing about Him.

I’ll end this post with the last paragraphs of the chapter:

The appropriate way to end this chapter is the same way we began it – by standing in awed silence before a mighty, fearsome God, whose tremendous worth becomes even more apparent as we see our own puny selves in comparison.

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