Saturday, July 16, 2011

Prayer Whisper's in God's Ear

Yesterday a friend sat at our table sketching, pencil on blank paper. She began with the eyes, the windows of the soul, glancing up at the photo on her computer screen, analyzing their shape and their lashes. The lonely eyes looked awkward to me, as if the final product would be somewhat clumsy, but competent. Hours passed and she still put pencil to paper, fingers rubbing, shading the shadows. A steady hand drew the jaw line. Our friend used the computer to zoom in on the tee shirt decal and replicate it, exactly. Exactly. What appeared before our eyes was lifelike, a photo in gray and black and white, sketched by hand. At our table the awkward, clumsy almond shaped eyes became the focal point of a face that breathed. There was his soul, in his eyes. I suspect it is the face of one who is loved.

I am now reading The Godly Man's Picture Drawn with a Scripture Pencil by Thomas Watson, first published in 1666. I want to share a few quotes from the section entitled, "A Godly Man is a Praying Man." I want to share the entire section, but you, the reader, would find it too wordy for the computer screen. You would leave before you were done, and so I will limit myself.

Confession: if the sole measure of my godliness is prayer, I rank among the ungodly. On this subject Watson's words spoke conviction to my heart. I share these not because this is who I am, but who I long to be. When condemnation rushes like the flood, I need solace from God's Word. Last night I fell asleep repeating Psalm 138:8, "The Lord will accomplish what concerns me."

The pencil of God begins to trace His Son on my soul. Taken alone the eyes may seem clumsy and awkward. Or perhaps the forehead seems too large. But God continues sketching with a steady hand, strokes long and short, dark or so faint they can barely be seen. In the end all is right, my soul breathes life, God looks on the face of one loved. I will pray, I will learn prayer, I will press on.

As soon as grace is poured in, prayer is poured out: "but I give myself unto prayer" (Psalm 109:4). In the Hebrew it is, "but I prayer." Prayer and I are all one. 
Prayer is the soul's traffic with heaven.
Prayer whispers in God's ear.
 A man cannot live unless he takes his breath, nor can the soul, unless it breathes forth its desires to God.
So, though you do not flourish with those gifts and expressions like others, yet if you can weep forth tears from a contrite heart, these are exceedingly precious to God, and he will put them in his bottle.
Prayers which lack a good aim lack a good answer. A godly man has spiritual goals in prayer. He sends out his prayer as a merchant sends out his ship, so that he may have large returns of spiritual blessings. His design in prayer is that his heart may be more holy and that he may have more communion with God. A godly man engages in the trade of prayer so that he may increase his stock of grace.
Let us be importunate suitors, and resolve with St. Bernard that we will not come away from God without God.

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