I have met people who have become wearied and disenchanted after spending years seeking an encounter or greater experience of God in their lives. They have gone to meetings, conferences, pilgrimages; they have read all the books; they have fasted and practised all the spiritual disciplines. But somehow they didn't find what they thought they we looking for. However, fellowship or communion with the Triune God is not something reserved for a spiritual elite; it's not a hidden secret, nor is it something in scarce supply. Rather here's a simple thought from C.S. Lewis about what is really happening when we bow our heads in prayer in our homes - calling on God as our Father, taking the posture as one of His children adopted in His Son, and brought near the heart of God by His Spirit - this is nothing less than participation in the inner triune life of God!
"An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God—that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying—the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on—the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bedroom where an ordinary man is saying his prayers. The man is being caught up into the higher kinds of life—what I called spiritual life - he is being pulled into God, by God, while still remaining himself."
Confession time: as an introvert I don't find it easy starting conversations and one of my fears is that I run out of things to naturally ask or say, resulting in the conversation ending very awkwardly. I think that many of us also have similar struggles when it comes to conversing and communing with God in prayer. But here's the amazing thing about praying to the God who is Trinity: we are joining a conversation that has always already been going on between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We don't have to warm them up or work ourselves up - we can just jump on in! What's more when we come to God with our needs and requests, then we aren't being annoying or distracting to the Triune conversation - rather a space has already been opened up in the heart of God to receive and answer our prayers. You see when we make our supplications to God we are actually participating in something that is intrinsic to the divine life shared by the Persons of the blessed Trinity. Andrew Murray puts it well when he writes:
“Prayer has its rise and its deepest source in the very Being of God. In the bosom of Deity nothing is ever done without prayer – the asking of the Son and the giving of the Father… there was a way opened up for prayer and its influence in the very inmost life of Deity itself. Just as on earth, so in heaven the whole relation between Father and Son is that of giving and taking”
The Father always delights in hearing and granting the prayers of His Son - and so too He delights in the prayers of all His children, who through faith and union with Christ are adopted into His family. We have the privilege to call upon the Father in the name of His beloved Son and with the help of His Spirit. So what are you waiting for? Join the conversation and be assured that your requests are pleasing in your heavenly Father's sight.
- Please Pray for the Latvia team as they head out on Wednesday for their 10 days of mission and music ministry at the Fusion camps.
- Please Pray for the many international students who were befriended and came into contact with the gospel during the last two weeks of the Edinburgh International Outreach.
- Please Pray for the preparations underway for our Festival outreach events: the family Puppet shows, the dramatic performances, the Origin music events, and the "There Is Hope" cafe evenings. Pray that God will use all these endeavours to sow the seeds of the gospel in thousands of lives!
Later this summer we'll be taking our young people away for their annual weekend away. This year's theme is "Surprised by the Trinity" (perhaps a surprising and ambitious choice for teens!)
The Trinity isn't just a mathematical problem to solve, or a philosophical conundrum to get your head around - it's the good news that God is the Father who has always loved his Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Theologian Fred Sanders has beautifully written:
"God the Father sent the Son to do something for us and the Spirit to be something in us, to bring us into the family life of God. God, who is eternally triune in Himself in the happy land of the Trinity, gives Himself to us to be our salvation…. making the Father, Son and Holy Spirit present in our lives" (How The Trinity Changes Everything)
The Christian is invited to experience and enjoy the "Happy Land of the Trinity" - life lived with God in Christ by the Spirit. A practical way in which we participate in that greater reality is when we pray. As I prepare to teach, I've been trying to get into the habit of using John Stott's trinitarian prayer, that he often used to start his days off with God. Why don't you give it a go yourself?
Good morning heavenly Father,
good morning Lord Jesus,
good morning Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, I worship you as the creator and sustainer of the universe.
Lord Jesus, I worship you, Saviour and Lord of the world.
Holy Spirit, I worship you, sanctifier of the people of God.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may live this day in your presence
and please you more and more.
Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you.
Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God, have mercy upon me.