Today's Worship Quote comes from Frederick Buechner and deals with an aspect of prayer that is sometimes difficult to understand - for me, at least.
According to Jesus, by far the most important thing about praying is to keep at it. The images he uses to explain this are all rather comic, as though he thought it was rather comic to have to explain it at all. He says God is like a friend you go to borrow bread from at midnight. The friend tells you in effect to drop dead, but you go on knocking anyway until finally he gives you what you want so he can go back to bed again (Luke 11:5-8). Or God is like a crooked judge who refuses to hear the case of a certain poor widow, presumably because he knows there's nothing much in it or him. But she keeps on hounding him until finally he hears her case just to get her out of his hair (Luke 18:1-8). Even a stinker, Jesus says, won't give his own child a black eye when he asks for peanut butter and jelly, so how all the more will God when HIS children... (Matthew 7:9-11).
Be importunate, Jesus says-not, one assumes, because you have to beat a path to God's door before he'll open it, but because until you beat the path maybe there'll be no way of getting to YOUR door. 'Ravish my heart,' John Donne wrote. But God will not usually ravish. He will only court.
-Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner, ed. George Connor (New York City: Harper Collins, 1992).
I had to look up "importunate." The Random House Dictionary had some help for me. "adj. 1. urgent or persistent in solicitation. 2. pertinacious, as solicitations or demands. 3. troublesome, annoying." It sounds a bit like nagging, doesn't it? Keep praying!
Have a great week!
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