Desert Wisdom: Prayer and Spirituality

Bunge rightly points out that prayer is “the most noble expression of the spiritual life” (p. 27).

This is because the essence of the Christian life is the cultivation of a relationship between ourselves and God.  And prayer is the name we give to that cultivation.

Moreover, we are describing a relationship that is Spirit to spirit—not a casual conversation that has no significance, but a sharing that is filled with significance and potential. Prayer is “soul deep.”

Finally, for today’s meditation, we also find that the conversation is initiated by the Spirit, so that prayer is always our response to God.  Bunge writes that prayer is called spiritual “because the Holy Spirit is the Revealer of divine mysteries” (p. 29).

This is why in Scripture and also in tradition, the lead-off sentence we speak in prayer has often been, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”  Bunge again notes, “At the summit of the ‘spiritual life’ this Holy Spirit determines what then happens” (p. 30).

This understanding of prayer disposes our hearts to attentiveness and receptivity.  God is able to speak and show to any person who does not have to have the first word.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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