Why Prayer Is Not the Solution to Our Problem

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May 21, 2018

Genesis 1:20-25

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

CONSIDER THIS

I never imagined the Creation account would teach me so much about the life and ways of prayer. Honestly, I never considered it as part of the curriculum. Why is this?

We consider prayer as a post fallen Eden reality. We approach prayer as a way to solve a problem; a response to sin, darkness and death. In fact, we approach most all of Christian faith this way—as a solution to the problem of sin. For all practical purposes, our bible begins with Genesis 3.

What if Christian faith is not merely God’s solution to man’s problem. What if, in fact, Christian faith is the true nature and shape of ultimate reality, which is not sin, darkness and death, but unfettered flourishing.

If there is a word to describe Genesis 1 it would be flourishing. Remember from last week:

12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Now, note the flourishing in today’s text:

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”

24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.”

To restate my working assumption: Prayer is Divine speech. It is the working Word of God to call forth the things that are not as though they were and the releasing of everything for the fulfillment of its creational intent; which is the flourishing of abundant life.

Prayer is a participation in this kind of work. Flash forward to this instructive word from God in the New Testament (which by the way is the inspiration for the quote slide image each day). “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:7-8.

To be sure, we live as fallen creatures in the midst of a fallen creation. We, however, are called to arise into the post-resurrection reality of our Ascended Lord, where the New Creation of the Kingdom of Heaven bursts at the seams to break in upon the broken order and renew the flourishing of all abundance.

This is prayer, not as a reaction or even response to sin, darkness and death, but as co-creative participation in the word and work of God to renew all of creation.

Let’s be clear. Jesus is not wringing his hands at the right hand of God, trying to fix broken things. Jump from the first book to the last where we read, “And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:5

Not I will, but I am.

To these things we must awaken.

THE PRAYER

Lord Jesus, you are right here, right now. You are not patching things up. You are making them new again. Open my mind to what new means. Open my heart to what new could be. Fill us with the fullness of original flourishing. And let it be with me. And let me be a participant in this work with you. Right here, Jesus. Right now Jesus. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. What is your vision of this word, “flourishing?” What would original flourishing look like in your life, family, relationships, marriage, work, school, church, town, ???
  2. Do you tend to frame reality with the problem of sin, darkness and death or are you reaching for that larger faith framework of original flourishing? How does that change things for you?
  3. How is this changing the way you understand and practice prayer? Name one clear and practical way forward with this

P.S. Big News: If enough people are interested I am going to lead a Daily Text trip to the LAND OF THE BIBLE, June 2-15, 2019. More details coming soon. If you are interested in going, email me.

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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