We admitted that we were powerless over God and that our lives had become unmanageable
In our western culture of faith we really don’t trust God. It is not because that is how we want it to be; it is how the heritage has developed. We want to be assured; we want to have the right facts; we want to be certain — all the things that are incompatible with Faith in God Who IS mystery.
In our desire to have the right facts we shift our being with God from relationship, to aspects about God. We make lengthy and impassioned forays into categories and aspects and characteristics of God, and think we do Him justice.
In the story of the Garden of Eden, what changed for man in sinning was intimacy with God. We now had to contend with the noisy mind that could no longer simply relate to God. We exchanged intimacy with experiencing good and evil. And this tendency to take our experiencing as an exchange for encountering God has influenced how we do theology.
We treat God as if He were a formula that we must fulfill (like an incantation), or as a being that can be legally obligated to do what we want. We treat the Eternal God like our errand boy, like an object to be used — a holy vending machine.
We treat the Eternal Almighty God as if He were our local Ba-al on steroids. We assume He is on our side but make no effort to make sure we are on His side. This even shows up in how we try to string our way of doing theology into how we do politics. We want God to bless us and stick it to our enemies. Today we have people who think that if they can change the politics to fit their theories about god that we can force God’s hand, so that God will HAVE to come and establish His Kingdom. This is both a misunderstanding the nature of the Kingdom, and a repeating the sin of Judas, betraying our faith in order to see an outcome that we have come to mistake for faith.
How we relate to God shows up in how we pray. Prayer is more than saying whatever thoughts that we have that we want God to magically bless. Prayer is more than saying the right number and kind of prayers at the right time. Prayer is intimacy with God. How we pray shows the state of our relationship. How we pray often reveals how we treat God. Sometimes in prayer we often degenerate into telling God how to be God. We expect God to be available to us even if we have spent the last several hours running away from Him. We don’t spend time re-entering the relationship with Him. We want God to “be a good god and answer my prayer the way I want it and I’ll see you on Sunday if the weather isn’t too good” We treat God worse than our pets.
We need to stop trying to control God and worship Him instead. God greatly desires to save us. But as long as we are committed to doing it OUR WAY, we don’t give Him much of a chance. As CS Lewis pointed out, we must come to the point where we can say, truly with our heart: “Thy will be done!”, lest we hear God sadly tell us: “thy will be done.”
We need to recover the priesthood of the believer, NOT as an excuse to do it MY WAY, but as an offering of our lives to God as our spiritual sacrifice. This is prayer: to bring ourselves into His presence and offer our world to Him.
I keep using WE, in this essay because “I” cannot do it by myself. I need the grace of God, and the prayerful support and direction of the Church. I cannot do it in isolation; I need my fellow Christians. WE do it together.
We must admit that we are powerless over God, and meet God as He has chosen to be met, through His incarnation in the flesh, through communion, and through prayer.