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Friday, August 05, 2005
Prayer in the Bible
In the story of Moses, other dimensions of prayer start to come alive. Moses fled to the wilderness, but God found him and called him through the burning bush (cf. Exodus 3:1-6). For Moses, prayer means not only seeking God but God seeking him. "The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts. His asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us." When God came to meet Moses at the burning bush, we are reminded that prayer is a gift from God. He first gives us the desire to pray, then enables us to pray. Therefore our prayer is always a response to God.
The burning bush is also an introduction to the "mystical" tradition of prayer. Within the mind there is a facility to apprehend a message from God given in a vivid and even frightening manner. When we speak of mystics in the Christian tradition, we don’t mean mystic fortune-tellers or mediums. Instead, the mystic is one who has had a close, unforgettable, and vivid experience of God’s presence. Like Moses, mystics have discovered how to listen to God as well as speak to him. Mysticism is linked with meditation, for in meditation we reflect on the Word of God and take that message to heart. Like Abraham, Moses’ meditation on God’s word took him further into an intimate relationship with God. God speaks to Moses face to face as a person speaks to a friend (cf. Exodus 33:11). It is from this intimacy with God that Moses becomes a great prayer warrior. He prays for Miriam’s healing (cf. Numbers 12:10-13), for victory over the Amalekites (cf. Exodus 17:8-13), and for God’s mercy in the face of the people’s apostasy (cf. Exodus 32)
Excerpt from: More Christianity by Dwight Longenecker