Listening To God

KOLKATA, INDIA - FEBRUARY 08: The statue of Mother Teresa in the chapel of the Mother House, Kolkata, India at 8 February 2014. The statue was made in the pose in which the Mother prayed.

Mother Teresa was once asked in an interview, “What do you say when you pray?” She replied, “Nothing, I just listen.” So then the reporter asked, “Well then, what does God say to you?” Her answer: “Nothing much, He just listens.”

Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals (Shane Claiborne)

Before I get into the main topic of this post, I want to tell you a little about why I see Mother Teresa as a major example of living for God. The words above are a prime example of her faith. She frequently said that she has doubts about the very existence of God! I don’t think there is more than a handful of preachers today that would ever admit to that. She said she is just doing what she thinks God wants her to do. Isn’t that at the very core of being a follower of Jesus should be about? Now, on to the topic at hand.

During my Evangelical years I learned about ACTS which is an acronym for how to pray. That is the main topic for this post.

  • A – Adoration — Acknowledging the majesty of God
  • C – Confession — Asking God to forgive our sins
  • T – Thanksgiving — Thanking God for all he has given us
  • S -Supplication — Personal petitions, or asking God for things.

I must admit that I have always had trouble with the concept of prayer.  It seems most of the prayers today are about supplication. We constantly ask God for special favors like wealth, health, and for things to go our way.  Praying for things just seemed kind of selfish to me. Then there are the other three classes of prayer. Are we praying in those modes for God’s purposes or for ourselves? I never imagined God “needing” adoration. I always had trouble with the concept of praying even within the concept of ACTS.

My Quaker friends, much like Mother Teresa, spend a lot of time centering down. That is sitting in silence and waiting for messages from God. I kind of like that idea. Those Quakers who practice “unprogrammed worship” make this waiting as being the primary purpose of their weekly gatherings.

When it comes down to it, I don’t think God needs our prayers. They are totally for us to get in the proper frame of mind to accomplish what he intends for us while we are on this earth.

“Acknowledging the majesty of God” makes us stop and think about our wants and whether they are really what God intends for our lives. Confessions are about those times when we did something, or maybe more importantly, didn’t do something that might have contributed to loving each other and being our brother’s keeper. Thanksgiving is to help us remember when we did good things and how those actions contributed to our happiness.

Praying is all about helping us in our journey on this earth. God doesn’t need it.