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Hearing the still, small voice of God

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Matthew 6:7-9

Jesus says,

"When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

"This then, is how you should pray:

"Our Father ..."

Following confession the priest never says, "Say ten 'My fathers'." Jesus didn't tell us to pray, "My Father ..."

In teaching us to pray as a community to "our" Father, Jesus undercuts Gnostic and New Age seers, wise men, and exalted ones in their attempts to separate themselves from the masses.

All the world's sin and suffering tracks back to Satan's whispered tempting, "Come and learn alone, eat that fruit of knowledge alone, and be like God, alone. Exalt yourself and be made holy."

So I strive mightily to make my place, set my name in lights, become wise and enlightened. Humility only occasionally suggests itself to me, when that's the only path I can take out of public failure. Silently and secretly I know for sure I'm better than the rest. And if I go to the right schools, I even have the words to prove it.

Jesus cuts me off. "Don't babble, David! Your words will not make you heard. You don't need them to persuade God to love you. He does that with vigor, and forever. He knows you better than you know yourself.

"What I want you to do," Jesus says, "is pray quietly and patiently, with confidence. Pray with the others. Pray together. Know how weak and unsound your mind is when you separate yourself. Recognize your mutual need with all the others for God to lead you and love you and hold you and know you. Stop trying so hard to get through to me, and let me get through to you. Be quiet, and listen for my whisper in your ear."

Our Father. Put our feet upon your rock. Hold us to your face and let us listen to your warm breathing. We are your children and we cry out for you together.

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