Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I heard the most brilliant sermon...

...okay, it was given by my husband, but it was brilliant nonetheless.

We're going through the book of Revelation. Lots of preconceived misconceptions being tossed out the window, I hope! Sunday we covered chapter 8:1-5.

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half and hour.
And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.
Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar.
He was given much incense to offer, with the prayer of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand.
Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

For 30 minutes everything stops.... And God listens to the prayers of his people. He raises his hand to silence the world so he can focus on the requests of the saints. He is paying sole attention to my prayer, your prayer. WOW! The King of the Universe, Creator is not multi-tasking but laying aside everything to listen. WOW!

Does that change the way I pray- should it change the way I pray - will it change the way I pray? I hope so!

In Frederick Buechner's novel, On the Road with the Archangel, Raphael (one of the 7 archangels) talks about prayer:
Some prayers I hold out as far from me as my arm will reach, the way a woman holds a dead mouse by the tail when she removes it from the kitchen. Some, like flowers, are almost too beautiful to touch, and others so aflame the I'd be afraid of their setting me on fire if I weren't already more like fire than I am like anything else. There are prayers of such power that you might almost say they carry me rather than the other way round - the way a bird with outstretched wings is carried higher and higher on the back of the wind. There are prayers so apologetic and shamefaced and halfhearted that they all but melt away in my grasp like sad little flakes of snow. Some prayers are very boring.

If I'd stop and think about what I'm doing, each time I pray, I wonder how my prayers would change. I think I wouldn't say as much, but just sit open-jawed, in wonder and in awe, in pleading and on my face. And yet I think of my all-time favorite hymn And Can It Be and know God desires me to approach him, boldly and claim the crown. Amazing love, how can it be that Thou, My God, shouldst die for me.

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