Room: Opportunity or Scope for Something

 
 
Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
    You gave me room when I was in distress.
    Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.
(Psalm 4:1 NRSV)
 
 
The more I think about prayer, the more questions surface in my heart. What is the purpose of prayer? Is prayer something to practice or is it practicing the presence of God? Does prayer change things or does it change me?
In reading Psalm 4 today, the opening verse sheds some light on my quandary. God can be trusted to bring about right in my life. He listens. He answers. He enlarges my perspective when I am in distress. Just being in His presence is grace. When I make prayer more than an entrance into His presence, I lose sight of the purpose of prayer—communion.
God makes room for me. He invites me to empty myself, to recognize my nothingness in light of His all-ness. He offers me various opportunities to express my love to Him. The capacity of God staggers me. And His very being thrills me like a spacious room. To be empty is to make space for God’s fullness.
 
Here’s an emptying prayer from early church history:
Sever me from myself that I may be grateful to you;
may I perish to myself that I may be safe in you;
may I die to myself that I may live in you;
may I wither to myself that I may blossom in you;
may I be emptied of myself that I may abound in you;
may I be nothing to myself that I may be all to you.
                                             (Desiderius Erasmus, 1466-1536)
 
What is the purpose of prayer in your life?
 

15 thoughts on “Room: Opportunity or Scope for Something

  1. Oh, Kel, I am so rejoicing in your exploration of this topic! This is the kind of thing we need more of online. And oh, we know so little of what prayer is/can be. It's taken me long to come to the point of seeing what you see. God's Universe-wide purposes for prayer may be higher than we can reach to understand, perhaps having much to do with the revelation of His glory and grace to more than humanity, but I do also believe that the biggest purpose of prayer for me as an individual believing human is communion with Him. What sweeter goal can there be? And from it blossom all the blooms of the Christ life. Thank you for the awesome beauty in this post!

  2. Kel, I will echo Jen's words above–God's idea of making room for me. What is prayer but communion with God, as you shared. I was praying this morning and found the Holy Spirit enlightening me to 'answers' as I listened to myself pray them out loud. I felt God drawing me closer to Him. That is our purpose–to be closer to Him and changed in His presence….Good words, my friend.

  3. Sylvia- Your words of encouragement spur me on to more exploration of this vast God of ours, that He even allows us to say we belong to Him is staggering news. How true that prayer has much to do with revealing His glory and grace!

  4. What a neat insight from Psalm 4. I think of creating space for God but hadn't imagine Him creating space for me. Just love this! glad I found your blog. loved the ancient prayer too.

  5. Thanks Jody! And the practice of listening prayer is a whole other arena…so glad you make room for God and accept His invitation to draw nearer as He invites you into His presence. Thanks for quoting this post today at Three Way Light!

  6. Jean- So glad you found Nourishment for the Soul, a place where I love serving up God's word, definitions and insights as God so graciously opens up my heart and mind and pours out his grace and love. Stay tuned more written prayers and ponderings are the main topic for this July…

  7. I love your new look! I think all your ideas are right – prayer changes us, and it also makes a difference. It’s something to practice, and it’s practicing the presence of God. On my Spiritual Formation course this week, we learnt about the Desert Fathers – unlike some of the Saints we have covered in previous weeks they do not impart particular prayers or prayer practices, but simply exhort us to pray, and God will teach you how.

    1. Victoria- Such a good reminder that God teaches us how to pray in each moment. Thanks for noticing the new look :O) I just wanted something simpler and easier on the eyes.

  8. The purpose for prayer in my life is manifold. I pray to find peace about my or others’ circumstance. I draw closer to God as I seek His wisdom. Sometimes, I need to gain perspective on an issue–to see things through God’s eyes,

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