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overrun by life

Someone asked me today what all I've been up to. My answer was that I have been busy having fun. I've been hanging out with friends more than usual, which is a good thing for me, but has not left me with a lot of time to sit and think up clever things to say.

Today I started reading a book called "Beginning to Pray" by Anthony Bloom who was a Russian Orthodox Priest. So far the book is blowing me away and really forcing me to rethink the act of prayer.

The first major point of the book, found in the first chapter is about the absence of God. Who in the world starts a book on prayer about the absence of God? This guy does, and it makes it phenomenal. Sometimes, I pray and get no response (at least none that I am aware of), the lack of God's presence seems to be overwhelming in those times, and I often wonder where I can go to find God and reestablish this relationship.

So it struck me in this passage...
"If we could mechanically draw Him into an encounter, force Him to meet us, simply because we have chosen the moment to meet Him, there would be no relationship, and no encounter.... A relationship must begin and develop in mutual freedom. If you look at the relationship in the form of a mutual relationship, you would see that God could complain about us a great deal more than we about Him. We complain that He does not make Himself present to us for the few minutes we reserve for him, but what about the 23 and a half hours during which God may be knocking on our door and we answer 'I am busy or I am sorry' or when we do not answer at all because we do not even hear the knock at the door of our heart, of our minds, of our conscience, of our life. So there is a situation in which we have no right to complain of the absence of God, because we are a great deal more absent than He ever is."
Right to the heart there. This perspective is fresh. I've never been comfortable with genie in a bottle God. The one that we call upon when we need something and a rub of the magic lamp can bring it to us. Life just doesn't seem to work this way. But what if we can have that consistent mutual relationship? What if we can open ourselves up to 24 continual hours of communion with God?

Often I think people see that or hear that as a possibility and don't think about it seriously because they haven't been called into a ministry job. Sometimes people think that it would take some sort of monastic life to be that devoted and listen to God constantly. I think that this holy and spiritual communion can be something everyone can have. It can truly be an awesome part of our lives to seek to live this way.

So the next time I'm crying out, the next time I go to God in prayer for something I want, and I don't feel the presence of God, I will remind myself that it isn't God that is the problem, it is me. I love being on the 2nd page of a book and being confronted by something that is so powerful it really makes me do some self-examination.
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