Last week I suggested that many of us relate to God primarily in the
role of Cosmic Nanny. Since He's been around for a very long time --
it's conceivable that He may have tired of that relationship.
If prayer is communication with God, what then, lies beyond prayer?
What does God care about? I suggested readers search "Christian"
websites, hoping that together we would find an answer. You seem to have
found what I found: lots of theology. Regrettably, the unbelieving world
doesn't care much about theology. Pragmatists that they are -- believing
this world is all that there is -- they want answers to their problems
down here on earth.
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In a sense, I wonder if God doesn't want the same thing? "I have come
that you might settle theological arguments," isn't exactly what Jesus
said, is it? Why do we behave as if it were?
In the eyes of the world, people of faith -- any faith -- are a
subculture. As Christians, we are a subculture of that subculture: one
among many. And we can burrow down as deeply as we want. In
the modern (and postmodern) mind, people of faith are packaged and set
away in the attic under "religion." We're there because we have nothing
to do with their lives. They find exactly the same
websites you do when they search for "Christian."
During the years that Jesus Christ walked this earth, He seemed to
spend the bulk of His time in hands-on training with His disciples:
healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and freeing those
possessed by Satan's world system. And what was the world's response? If
there had been television news, every station would have assigned a
crew! True, He argued with the religious rulers of
His day, but usually it was to defend His work. "'Is it lawful to heal
on the Sabbath? Stretch forth your hand ...' and the man was healed"
Two thousand years later, are we really much different from the
people of Jesus' day? The religious power structure seems to have little
stomach for Christian work; they'd much rather answer the
burning questions of the day, such as "How many angels can dance on the
head of a pin?" Put another way, people of faith, rather than having
become a light on a hill, have become a clamoring
gong. We are beating the air -- the very thing the apostle Paul warned
us against doing.
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Ask yourself what matters to people in the world today? The list
could include health care, poverty, pollution, education, genetic
engineering, euthanasia, violence, race relations, gang warfare. Sadly,
the list could go on and on. What do we as Christians contribute to that
public debate? What is the Christian answer?
If the Church isn't changed, it will not complete the Great
Commission. But before He left, Jesus said, "I will build my Church, and
the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). So we
have it on good authority that the Church will finish its work before it
departs. Given the current state of that Church -- and the size of the
Great Commission -- big changes must be just around the corner for all
I began by asking, what lies beyond prayer? Prayer is communication
with God. Through it, we make our needs known to Him. But communication
implies a flow of hopes, dreams and desires
both ways -- or it is not communication at all. One-way prayer is little
more than the whining of a schoolyard full of children, all competing
for the attentions of their Cosmic Nanny.
I think the answer to what lies beyond prayer is obedience. Believe
it or not, God has His own agenda. He's quite open and unapologetic
about it. In fact, He will explain it to anyone who
is willing to listen. God wants to introduce as many people as possible
to His Son, Jesus Christ. That leaves a lot of room for individual
Some time back a reader thanked me for "doing something." I was
embarrassed, in part because writing about something and doing something
are quite different matters -- although perhaps it's
better than nothing at all. I'm now prepared to suggest that we all "do
something" -- and to suggest as well what that "something" might be. As
part of my readership family, you can be the first to
take a look at the project and
give me your thoughts. As time goes on, I'll reveal how it came to be.
For the moment, remember what lies beyond prayer.