I watched a movie recently where the protagonist (a minister) wrestled with questions concerning prayer. Is God listening to us? Can we know his thoughts on the matters that most trouble us? Is there only one way to pray? As he struggled to reconcile his faith with his feelings, I found myself resonating with his concerns. At the root, I kept returning to one question:
Does God still listen when we feel like we’re praying all wrong?
A friend of mine recently asked me how we ought to address the issue of spiritual immaturity among young believers. He noticed that many our age have shallow understandings of theology and possess little maturity in the things of God, and he wondered how we can help people to grow when adolescence appears to have such a firm hold on our generation. His question grows more pressing when I consider my own heart and find the same tendencies and deficiencies in myself. So how do we grow in godliness? How do we ourselves grow more mature in the faith and more biblically and theologically grounded? And how do we lead others to follow our example? Below are a few thoughts that I pray will help us along that road.
I wonder if comparison is a nicer-sounding expression for envy. When I read the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, I can quickly pass over verse 17 under the assumption that I don’t have any problems with desires for the wealth or the family of my neighbors. In fact, I tend to read this verse with specifics in mind, comforting myself that I don’t desire my friend’s Xbox or his car or whatever else he may have. I tell myself envy isn’t an issue for me. But then I begin to compare. Continue reading
Soul, be silent. Listen well.
Hope in God, and pray.
He who saved your soul from hell
Will bring you through this day.
Worry never. Doubt him less.
Know that he is God.
Learn to live in humbleness,
And trust your Shepherd’s rod.
Fix your focus. Do not shirk.
Stand as he has stood.
He will cause all things to work
Together for your good.
If this day should end in death,
Sing the last refrain.
Faithful to the final breath,
At last, to die is gain.
Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash
My dad introduced my brother and me to Red Skelton’s comedy shows back in the day. While his sketches still stand out in my mind as some of the funniest I’ve ever seen, one of his more serious moments came to my mind the other day.