Prayer and Presence
Did you ever feel like you were standing at the threshold of something amazing, while what stood on the other side was yet clouded in mystery? We may have a sense that God has something amazing for us if we will faithfully step through the doorway, over the threshold, yet we hesitate because we are not fully sure and a bit fearful of what stands on the other side. To be frozen before the threshold, out of fear of the mystery for what God has in store for us, is a dangerous place for the Christian to find themselves spiritually. Too often we find ourselves unable to cross the threshold of a doorway that God has thrown wide open. We stand paralyzed before a doorway that leads to blessings and opportunity. In so doing we find ourselves at odds with the reality that Jesus Christ came that we may have life, and have it abundantly(see John 10:10). This is a two-fold fear. 1) Fear of the unknown and 2) Fear of leaving behind what we do know. There is a paradox here however, as this threshold place is also often a place calling for patience, as we wait for the right time to step through the doorway. In fact we may come to realize that we are standing at a threshold but the door has yet to open. Joyce Rupp in her book “Open the Door” offers a helpful quote by Jane R. Pretat who states;
It’s as if we were caught in a darkened vestibule between an old way of being and a new…The doors of the past close behind us. The doors to the future are still unopened. Too often we forget that only by enduring our time in the liminal space between those doors, waiting for an opening, can we eventually move freely across a threshold into the future.
So how do we know if we are paralyzed by fear before a door that the Lord has thrown wide open and is calling us to faithfully step through, or prudently waiting patiently for God to open the door and guide us through. The key to both situations is hearing God, responding to God, and faithfully trusting God. We know by listening and we listen best when we take time to do the things that fine tune our spiritual ears to God. Over the coming 6-8 weeks I would like to go on a prayer journey together with all of you as we seek to fine tune our spiritual ears to God’s presence and guidance in our lives. I think it is important for us to ask the question “Are we standing in a threshold place in which the Lord is calling us to an amazing new thing, a new future?” If so, is the door already flung wide open and God is calling us to step out in faith, or are we in that vestibule waiting for the door to be opened. Either way it is crucial for us to listen carefully. Over the coming weeks our guide to this place of “deep listening” will be the Holy Spirit. We will also employ the following prayer styles. These will be accompanied by extended times of silence as we listen for God’s voice.
The Lord’s Prayer
John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer
Thomas Merton’s Prayer
Prayer of Examen
I pray you will all join me as we embark on this summer time journey of listening for God’s guidance, as we move together through the doorways that lead to the Lord’s promised life of abundance.