Prayer, Personhood, and Possibility
Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 4:23PM
Ben Simpson in Christian Spiritual Formation, Evagrius the Solitary, Wisdom, prayer

Often when I have prayed I have asked for what I thought was good, and persisted in my petition, stupidly importuning the will of God, and not leaving it to him to arrange things as he knows is best for me. But when I have obtained what I asked for, I have been very sorry that I did not ask for the will of God to be done; because the thing turned out not to be as I had thought…Do not be distressed if you do not at once receive from God what you ask. He wishes to give you something better--to make you persevere in your prayer. For what is better than to enjoy the love of God and to be in communion with him?

- Evagrius the Solitary, The Philokalia, vol. 1, as quoted in Tell it Slant by Eugene Peterson

When we say the word God, we refer to a personhood, known in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As it is when we relate to persons, so it is when we relate to the Person of God. We may ask for those things we think good. And God, being the Person that God is, patiently bears with us, even when those things we ask for would not tend toward the good, either for ourselves or for all people. This God, being patient, kind, and loving beyond measure, so uses our petitions to refine our character, and to bring us nearer to the person God intends for us to be.

The end of prayer is not the answer to our prayer, but God, which may in fact be the longing underneath all of our longings, that being, union and communion with our Creator.

The Christian story claims that such communion has been made possible in Jesus Christ.

Article originally appeared on Benjamin A. Simpson (http://benjaminasimpson.com/).
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