BECOMING THE ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS: PRAYER FOR ORDINARY RADICALS

by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

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If your mind and heart are wired toward social justice, you may have come across Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove before. Shane Claiborne is known for his activism, and the sometimes shocking demonstrations that have deemed him a radical for God and an advocate for the poor. He would call himself an “ordinary” radical. You can read much of his story in his first book, Irresistible Revolution. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is a great writer and thinker in the same stream. Some of Jonathan’s books include God’s Economy and New Monasticism.

These two authors have come together to write a book on prayer like no other. Most books on prayer focus on the how to and the why aspects. This book is about the action God leads us toward as an outcome to prayer—not a how to book but an answer to book. After reading it, you’ll realize that you are the answer! In reference to Amos 5:21-24, they show us that God isn’t as concerned with our loud responses in worship or our extended times in the prayer closet, but with a life that responds to time and relationship with God the Father. They write:

“Without justice for the poor, religious activities are little more than annoying noise in the ears of God, and the prayers that used to smell like incense to God become a nauseating stench when there is no flesh bringing those prayers to life.” 1

The second half of this quote is the essence of the book. In prayer, we often ask God to do many things: help the poor, change our neighbourhoods, get us out of debt, fill the empty seats on Sunday morning, etc. Most of the time, if we’re listening, God is responding with “OK, so what are you waiting for?” Shane and Jonathan would say:

“Prayer is not so much about convincing God to do what we want God to do as it is about convincing ourselves to do what God wants us to do.” 2

The book is divided into three parts: the first is about the Lord’s Prayer; the second is about Jesus’ prayer for the church in John 17; and the third reflects on Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians (1:15-23). Scattered throughout the pages of this little gem are prayers from church fathers, leaders and saints of old. Often we think we have to be creative and spontaneous in our prayers, but there are rich words we can borrow from our brothers and sisters who lived in the past that will help us connect with God’s heart and mission for today.

The next time you are praying and expecting a response, see if God is pointing a finger back at you to become the answer to your own prayer. Becoming The Answer To Our Prayers: Prayer For Ordinary Radicals is a risky book worth your attention.

ENDNOTES
1. Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer For Ordinary Radicals, 10.2. Ibid., 11.

Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer For Ordinary Radicals is available by contacting Wordcom Christian Resources at wordcom@paoc.org or (905) 542-7400, ext. 4248. Price is $15.99 Canadian (plus shipping and tax).
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