You know the expression “blow away the chaff”, referring to being able to take something of value from what people say, and just “blow away” anything that isn’t (in a nice way, hopefully!) Well, I’ve had to do that with a book I purchased recently.
My current little preoccupation has been about praying scripture. There are so many verses that you can actually turn into prayer, and I started by trying to record the ones that I might use, as I came across them. When I discovered that I’d totally missed an excellent way to make Psalm 1 a prayer, it seemed like it would be a good idea to search out one of the books I’d heard about, that have listed prayers from the Bible for you.
The one I ended up buying (Kindle) seemed worth getting excited about: a modern day Prayer Book, extolling the benefits of praying scripture–helps you find the right words, keeps you focussed, etc.–using a modern version of the Bible and organized nicely into categories. Then I came across this paragraph, in one of the introductions:
“My advice to everyone is always the same: Both you and your children should begin to pray Revelation 4 at least 100 times out loud to God, 10 times a day, for 10 days straight. Then, you will see God!”
Now, I’m so embarrassed that I’m not even going to tell you the author or the name of the book! But, look what I happened to read this morning (not in THIS book!):
“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply…” (Matthew 6:7-9)
*wince* That is a bit harsh on the poor guy… He does say some good things, pointing out that the Church has had prayer books since “time began” kind of thing; the Jews (in Jesus’ time) prayed three times a day, just like the Muslims, etc. He’s not actually presenting a formula for getting what you want, he just wants you to draw close to God. But still…
Anyway, I guess I’ll forgive him for that paragraph. Mostly.