Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Prayer is an adventure

Here is an excerpt from Philip Yancey's excellent book, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? It is the thoughts of a man named Harold.

"For me, prayer is the key to making life an adventure. In the Lord of the Rings series by Tolkien, poor Frodo only gets enough direction for the next lap of the journey. As he looks back, it all works out, but most of the time he wanders around confused and helpless. Only occasionally, and in subtle ways, does Gandalf actively give assistance and guidance.

Like Frodo, we live in a world of opposition, one saturated with sex and full of evil, violence, and poverty. This is my Father's world? I come to God with my complaints and laments. I grapple with God, call him to account. And I believe God welcomes that dialogue. In the process, I learn who I am. Someone asked the Swiss counselor Paul Tournier, 'What's your definition of a hypocrite?' and he repliecd, C'est moi--It is I. Prayer reminds me of that truth."
Does our relationship like God seem like an adventure story? What are the dangers along the journey? What are the high moments?


Jburgess80 said...

I think that our relationship with God is much like and adventure. Yes, very much like the Lord of the Rings, but in a different way. I could not stay awake during the first Lord of the Rings. Everytime I would wake up, all they were doing was walking through the forest, seemed to be going nowhere. Sometimes, far to often, we can fall asleep on our relationship with God and get nowhere. As I get older I am working on relying on the power of prayer. I see it working more and more everyday to encourage and guide me. My hope is that I can stay awake. Being alert can help me to stay away from the opposition and focus on who is important. The dangers along the way are numerous, pride and over-confidence are often obstacles. It's the times that we are so secure in who we are and where we are going that Satan attacks us the most. We must always be on ready for what's around the corner.
As for the Lord of the Rings...great movies, just remind me to drink some coffee before sitting down to watch them.

James said...


Good analogy. Falling asleep on God--I think I do that as well. Go on autopilot. Trust in myself. Either becoming prideful or depressed at the situation.

When we get to McKinney, we'll invite you over for a LOTR party--and we'll fix some coffee. :)

Jburgess80 said...

Glad you mentioned the LOTR party. We as a small group have been talking about having one. We'll wait for you...

Alison said...

Thanks to James B, I keep thinking about the first time I saw LOTR. Convinced by my husband that I HAD to watch, I stayed up late on a Friday night and watched the extended version on DVD with him. I remember the moving ending about 1am, and my only reaction was "I just sat here for 3 hours for THIS??? It had no point and nothing happened - they just wandered through the forest all night." My husband tried to remind me that there were 2 other movies, but at the time I had NO interest in watching. Eventually, I saw the other two and loved the final film.
That experience reminds me so much of how God works in our lives. Somethimes things are happening that I don't understand, and I just keep praying because I want to know what's going to happen and why. I feel like I'm wandering around in that forest and get to certain points and say "I went through all of this for that??". Eventually, God leads me through the other parts of the "trilogy" and I finally get to the end and love it. If I don't go through the first parts, I can't appreciate the finale. This type of situation has at different times and in different ways in the past few years for my husband and I. Thankfully, I am now seeing the blessings God had in store for us. In trusting Him, we have found a wonderful church and have been blessed with an amazing small group that has quickly become family. Even though I tend to be impatient and beg and plead for God to show me things quickly, He always knows best just how and when to answer my prayers to best display His blessings.

James said...


What a great analogy you made. God's people have always had "wilderness wanderings" which have shaped them. After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they soon wanted to go back, saying, "Things were so much better in Egypt. We just sat around and ate bowls of meat."

The challenge during wilderness times is to not give up and to trust that God has something better in store for us. I'm so glad to hear about your story, that you have come out of the desert into a wonderful church. And thanks to James B. for helping people find a great movie series, LOTR. Thanks for sharing, Alison