Daily Riches: The Difference Between Thinking and Praying (Donald McCullough, William O’Malley, and John Donne)

“I don’t understand why God loves me – or anyone else, for that matter. But does a minnow have to understand the ocean to swim in it? Does a goose have to understand his instinctive urges to fly south in winter before taking flight? Does a hawk understand the physics of hot air rising to soar atop the currents? Do I really need to understand the height and breadth and depth of God’s love to throw myself upon it? Authentic spirituality, it seems to me, does not depend on understanding everything about ourselves and God and then using that knowledge to hoist ourselves to a higher level of experience and achievement. …Authentic spirituality confidently assumes that God is up to something good, going ahead of us, calling us, embracing us, and it seeks simply to participate and delight in this.”  Donald McCullough

“Prayer begins with being connected to God. One way I find helpful to remind myself of the ever-present God is to say over and over again, ‘God, my great friend, … somehow you’re alive in me.’ At times, I am sure, you will need nothing more than that. But the essential difference between thinking and praying is the conscious ‘connection.’ The goal of these prayers is connecting with and resting in God, not trying to learn anything or to make ‘progress in the spiritual life.’  Remember, God will lead us as God will, and God’s faithfulness, goodness, and love for us are infinite.” William O’Malley

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love
may … grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and know this love that surpasses knowledge….”
Ephesians 3:18,19

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you striving to know more about God? What can you do to make sure learning more leads to loving more, growing more, and changing more – to new practices rather than just new convictions?
  • Are your prayers routinely characterized by “connecting with and resting in God”, even when they’re filled with petitions?
  • Do you assume “God is up to something good,” going ahead of you, calling you?
  • Do you experience God’s love mostly as fact or feeling? Does it “surpass knowledge?”

Abba, take me to you, imprison mee, for I
Except you enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.
John Donne

For More: Daily Prayers for Busy People by William J. O’Malley

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Don’t Try Harder (John Ortberg and Richard Rohr)

“When you stretch, you don’t make it happen simply by trying harder. You must let go and let gravity do its work. You give permission, opening yourself to another, greater force. This is not just true when it comes to stretching. As a general rule, the harder you work to control things, the more you lose control. The harder you try to hit a fast serve in tennis, the more your muscles tense up. The harder you try to impress someone on a date or while making a sale, the more you force the conversation and come across as pushy. The harder you cling to people, the more apt they are to push you away. … for deeper change, I need a greater power than simply ‘trying harder’ can provide. Imagine someone advising you, ‘Try harder to relax. Try harder to go to sleep. Try harder to be graceful. Try harder to not worry. Try harder to be joyful.’ There are limits on what trying harder can accomplish. Often the people in the Gospels who got into the most trouble with Jesus were the ones who thought they were working hardest on their spiritual life. They were trying so hard to be good that they could not stop thinking about how hard they were trying. That got in the way of their loving other people. …here is an alternative: Try softer. Try better. Try different. A river of living water is now available, but the river is the Spirit. It is not you. … Don’t push the river.” John Ortberg

“Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it.” Richard Rohr

“… rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  John 7:38

    __________

       Moving From Head to Heart

  • Is “trying harder” your default mode – are you constantly “pushing the river?” Is that working?
  • What exactly would it look like for you to “try softer?”
  • What might you discover by trying softer?

Abba, help me stop pushing and striving and trust the river to do it’s work.

For More: The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)