In Others’ Words: Incarnation

There’s such a beguiling invitation in Paul Miller’s explanation of prayer …

I’ve heard prayer described as a conversation between me and God. I’ve been taught the importance of both “letting my requests be made known” (talking to God) and “being still  and knowing” (listening for God).

And then I stumble to my knees, humbled by the idea of prayer as a moment of incarnation … God with me.

Wait. Isn’t “God with me” a thought, a turn of God-speak, that we roll out once a year, when we’re decking the halls and falalalala-ing and singing about a silent night and a star of wonder and shepherds?

Emmanuel … God with us.

Oh, to think of each moment of prayer — the talking moments and the listening moments — as God-with-me moments. To stop and realize that when I pray, I’m in relationship with my Creator. Prayer isn’t about what I want … and it isn’t about what God wants — although I realize some of you may argue with me about that.

Prayer is about relationship.

Communion.

Incarnation.

It’s so much more than “Please” and “Thank You.”

It’s knowing and being known.

In Your Words: If you had to describe prayer in one word, what word would you use?

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26 Comments

  1. Roxanne Sherwood Gray
    January 30, 2013, 5:54 am   /  Reply

    After thinking about this all day, I might have a great answer. Right now, I don’t know a unique synonym for prayer. But a word about prayer is “privilege.” It’s amazing that the God of the Universe, the Creator of all things, wants a relationship with you and me. It boggles the mind. The fact that He is willing to hear my prayers and communicate with me is a privilege I should never take for granted.

  2. Beth Vogt
    January 30, 2013, 6:57 am   /  Reply

    I love that one word for prayer, Roxanne: privilege. A loving privilege, to be sure. An awe-inspiring privilege.

  3. January 30, 2013, 7:00 am   /  Reply

    Comfort – both in times of great sorrow and joy. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      January 30, 2013, 5:40 pm   /  Reply

      So true, Kathryn.

  4. January 30, 2013, 7:15 am   /  Reply

    I would say “impossible”.
    Why?
    Think of it this way. I am Canadian. Most Canadians, and members of the Commonwealth, consider Elizabeth The Second to be OUR queen, our monarch. She is the be-all and end-all of all things English. A royal lineage of century upon century. Men went to war yelling “For King and Country!” People would willingly take a bullet for her.

    But can I, Jennifer, walk up to her throne and say “thank you for today, thank you for healing my friend, thank you for sending Charles to die in front of a firing squad for me.”

    Impossible.

    But the King of Heaven? He loves ME. He waits for ME. He WANTS me.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 30, 2013, 5:42 pm   /  Reply

      Such a beautiful explanation of the impossibly-possible relationship God offers us.

  5. January 30, 2013, 7:17 am   /  Reply

    Good provoking thought. My one-word prayer definition? Friendship.
    Thanks.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 30, 2013, 5:43 pm   /  Reply

      The thought of being friends with God always puts a smile on my face.

  6. January 30, 2013, 7:29 am   /  Reply

    Union.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 30, 2013, 5:43 pm   /  Reply

      Perfect.

  7. Jeanne T
    January 30, 2013, 7:32 am   /  Reply

    Wow, what a thought-provoking post. Let’s see, one word to describe prayer: fellowship. That give and take, and exploring Who God is and trying to comprehend his unfathomable love for me and knowing He WANTS relationship with me? Amazing. Humbling. Fellowship takes my prayer time deeper–deeper connection. And I’m rambling. So I’ll sign off now. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      January 30, 2013, 5:45 pm   /  Reply

      You didn’t ramble, Jeanne. I always appreciate what you add to the conversation here.

  8. January 30, 2013, 7:36 am   /  Reply

    Beth, thanks for this “wow” moment of renewed hope.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 30, 2013, 5:46 pm   /  Reply

      :0) You are welcome, Elaine. Hope is a precious commodity.

  9. Amy Leigh Simpson
    January 30, 2013, 7:55 am   /  Reply

    Love this, Beth! I’m struggling with just one word. I’ve always ben a bit long winded 🙂 I’m gonna go with unity.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 30, 2013, 5:47 pm   /  Reply

      Good word, My friend!

  10. Kara Grant
    January 30, 2013, 8:52 am   /  Reply

    Love the words being used, so precious! I consider prayer like intimacy, it’s personal and private but has miraculous results and the result of prayer is almost always increased faith (as well as realizing how loved you are by Abba). Great post, Beth! I love the photos, quotes and scriptures you use 🙂 You’re such a blessing and encourager, hugs!

    • Beth Vogt
      January 30, 2013, 5:51 pm   /  Reply

      Kara, thank you for encouraging me today — and not for the first time! I love what everyone has shared too — it has deepened my understanding of prayer.

  11. January 30, 2013, 9:01 am   /  Reply

    Wow. Good food to chew on all day. Agree with Dee–friendship, and Jeanne–fellowship. To me, prayer is a promise.
    He will listen
    He will comfort
    He will love
    He will advise
    I will listen
    I will be comforted
    I will love and accept love

    • Beth Vogt
      January 30, 2013, 5:51 pm   /  Reply

      There is rich poetry in your response, Pat.

  12. January 30, 2013, 10:42 am   /  Reply

    yes, amen, thank you for the invitation 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      January 30, 2013, 5:52 pm   /  Reply

      :0)

  13. January 30, 2013, 3:08 pm   /  Reply

    Subordination.

    Not my will, but Thine be done.

    • Beth Vogt
      January 30, 2013, 5:53 pm   /  Reply

      A most excellent word, Andrew.

  14. January 30, 2013, 9:14 pm   /  Reply

    Oh, this feels slightly like a synopsis trying to get all that content in one word. HMMM…. Companionship. The Presence of God with us sometimes it doesn’t even need words.

  15. January 31, 2013, 8:29 am   /  Reply

    What beautiful thoughts to ponder, Beth. Prayer in one word? Relationship. It’s the ultimate community between us the the Triune God. We spend time with relationships so that they flourish. Spending time with God flourishes our relationship with Him, and in turn, with others. Loved this!

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