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“We are dependent upon God for even our sense of worth as individuals. Our uniqueness and dignity are rooted in our creation in the image of God. Our value is not tied to wealth, status, accomplishments, or position. It is a gift. Obviously, this wonderful truth flies in the face of the modern technology to define people by what they produce or what they have…

The terrible reality of the Fall was… a repudiation of our dependence upon God.”

~ Richard J. Foster, Freedom of Simplicity

The offering of ourselves can only be the offering of our lived experience, because this alone is who we are. And who we are–not who we want to be–is the only offering we have to give. We give God therefore not just our strengths but also our weaknesses, not just our giftedness but also our brokenness.

Our duplicity, our lust, our narcissism, our sloth–all are laid on the altar of sacrifice.

Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True

Richard Foster

The truth of the matter is, we all come to prayer with a tangled mass of motives–altruistic and selfish, merciful and hateful, loving and bitter. Frankly, this side of eternity we will never unravel the good from the bad, the pure from the impure. But what I have come to see is that God is big enough to receive us with all our mixture. We do not have to be bright, or pure, or filled with faith, or anything. That is what grace means, and not only are we saved by grace, we live by it as well. And we pray by it.

~ Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True

Meditation is the necessary prelude to intercession. The work of intercession, sometimes called the prayer of faith, presupposes that the prayer of guidance is perpetually ascending to the Father. We must hear, know and obey the will of God before we pray it into the lives of others. The prayer of guidance constantly precedes and surrounds the prayer of faith.

(The Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster, 35)

One of the most critical aspects in learning to pray for others is to get in contact with God so that His life and power can be channeled through us to others. Often we assume we are in contact when we are not…Often people will pray and pray with all the faith in the world, but nothing happens. Naturally, they were not contacting the channel. We begin praying for others by first centering down and listening to the quiet thunder of the Lord of hosts.

(The Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster, 34)

Perhaps the most astonishing characteristic of Jesus’ praying is that when He prayed for others He never concluded by saying “if it be Thy will.” Nor did the apostles or prophets when they were praying for others. They obviously believed that they knew what the will of God was when they prayed the prayer of faith. They were so immersed in the milieu of the Holy Spirit that when they encountered a specific situation, they knew what should be done. Their praying was so positive that it often took the form of a direct, authoritative command: 

“Walk”

“Be Well”

“Stand up!”

I saw that praying that when praying for others there was evidently no room for indecisive, tentative, half-hoping, “if they it be Thy will” prayers.

(The Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster, 33)

Real prayer is something we learn. The disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). They had prayed all their lives and yet something about the quality and quantity of Jesus’ praying caused them to see how little they knew about prayer. If their praying was to make any difference on the on the human scene, there were some they needed to learn.

One of the liberating experiences in my life came when I understood that prayer involved a learning process. I was free to question, to experiment, even to fail, for I knew I was learning…

(The Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster, 32-33)

Perhaps the most astonishing characteristic of Jesus’ praying is that when He prayed for others He never concluded by saying “if it be Thy will.” Nor did the apostles or prophets when they were praying for others.  They obviously believed that they knew what the will of God was before they prayed the prayer of faith. They were so immersed in the milieu of the Holy Spirit that when they encountered a specific situation, they knew what should be done. Their praying was so positive that it often took the form of a direct, authoritative command:

“Walk”

“Be well”

“Stand up”

I saw that when praying for others there was evidently no room for indecisive, tentative, half-hoping, “if it be Thy will” prayers!

(The Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster, 33)

Modern men and women are so desperately in need of the help (to learn how to pray) that we can provide that our best energies should be devoted to this task.

(The Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster, 32)

Is prayer like breathing to us? Do we consistently have an attitude of prayer throughout the day? Some of the great saints of the past made prayer their life…

For those explorers in the frontiers of faith, prayer was no little habit tacked onto the periphery of their lives–it was their lives. It was the most serious work of their most productive years.

(The Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster, 31).

June 2017
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