Friday, October 21, 2016

Bishop’s Note: October 20, 2016 – On Prayer

Bishop Eric Menees

This past Sunday’s Gospel lesson was from Luke chapter 18 – the Parable of the Persistent Widow. In it St. Luke tells us upfront that the point of the parable is: “[18:1] And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1 ESV)

I ran across this quote from an English Evangelical in the first half of the twentieth century named Arthur W. Pink. For me, Pink captured the essence of prayer. It is not so much to change God’s mind as it is to change our hearts.

"Prayer is not so much an act as it is an attitude—an attitude of dependency, dependency upon God. Prayer is a confession of creature weakness, yea, of helplessness. Prayer is the acknowledgment of our need and the spreading of it before God. We do not say that this is all there is in prayer, it is not: but it is the essential, the primary element in prayer. We freely admit that we are quite unable to give a complete definition of prayer within the compass of a brief sentence, or in any number of words. Prayer is both an attitude and an act, a human act, and yet there is the Divine element in it too, and it is this, which makes an exhaustive analysis impossible as well as impious to attempt. But admitting this, we do insist again, that prayer is fundamentally an attitude of dependency upon God. Therefore, prayer is the very opposite of dictating to God. Because prayer is an attitude of dependency, the one who really prays is submissive, submissive to the Divine will; and submission to the Divine will means, that we are content for the Lord to supply our need according to the dictates of His own sovereign pleasure. And hence it is that we say, every prayer that is offered to God in this spirit is sure of meeting with an answer or response from Him… Prayer is not the requesting of God to alter His purpose or for Him to form a new one. Prayer is the taking of an attitude of dependency upon. God, the spreading of our need before Him, the asking for those things which are in accordance with His will, and therefore there is nothing whatever inconsistent between Divine sovereignty and Christian prayer.” ~ Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God

I pray you all a truly blessed week.

Catechism Questions: 343-345
343. What does the Church offer you as helps for your sanctification?
The Church’s teaching, sacraments, liturgies, seasons, ministry, oversight, and fellowship assist my growth in Christ and are channels of God’s abundant care for my soul. (Ephesians 4-6; Philippians 3; Colossians 3; Ascensiontide Collects)

344. For what does sanctification prepare you?
Sanctification prepares me for the vision and glory of God in conformity to my Lord Jesus Christ, who has promised that “the pure in heart shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

345. With what attitude should I live a life of sanctification?
God calls me to a life of joy. Constant thoughts of God’s love for me, and of my hope in Christ, will keep me always rejoicing. (Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19)

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