Read: Genesis 12:7-8
Wherever Abram went, his first act was to build an altar. This is the Bible’s way of teaching that the foundation for everything else is prayer.
We tend to make it the capstone—the act in which we ask God to bless what we have already proposed. Abram turns it around, asking God to create the attitudes and actions which will become blessings as they are enacted.
Father Richard Rohr was interviewed recently on NPR’s “Religion and Ethics” program. At one point in the interview he said, “I think we should close down every program in the church and just teach our people to pray.” He went on to say he believed that prayer would provide the means for God to work in our lives in every other way that we need it.
If you know anything about Richard Rohr, you know he deliberately says things in ways that get attention. His comment on the NPR program got mine. But as a matter of fact, he was only commending what the Bible teaches: build the altar first. Pray first. Worship first.
Paul came along centuries later and essentially said the same thing to Timothy, “First of all, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1).
The words of Peter, Paul and Mary echo in my mind at this point, “When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?”