For all the challenge silence presents in prayer, it teaches us that prayer is essentially God’s gift.Prayer is the gift of the Spirit which Jesus pours out in our hearts. The Spirit does not just draw us into companionship with Jesus. As we learn from St Paul (Romans 8), the Spirit is also central to Jesus’ own relationship to the Father, and so prayer in the Spirit also expresses our union with Christ as members of his Body, able to turn to the Father and say, as Jesus said, Abba, Father. And in this way, we discover the completeness of the union to which we are called in Jesus Christ, by our baptism which makes us members of his Body in more than just a metaphorical sense. For in the prayerful movement of the Spirit we come to share in the loving exchange of life that unites the Father and the Son. This is not a permanently comforting or peaceful state; it is often disorientating. For as responsible agents we need to be de-centered and re-centered on him, and not on ourselves. In prayer we discover ourselves, our consciousness, will, and love rediscovered as received from him.This is what makes Christian prayer different. It is not just about our relationship to the source of existence, an existential experience of our human
This is what makes Christian prayer different. It is not just about our relationship to the source of existence, an existential experience of our human created ness, what I called our Godwardness at the start of this book. Rather, it is the discovery that this orientation and inwardness has a particular shape and structure, which is defined for us by our knowledge of Jesus Christ, and the knowledge of the Father we have through faith in him. To use a modern expression, Jesus ‘frames’ and ‘models’ a completely new style of Godwardness, in which we pray to God not as a reality over against us at a distance, but one in whom we discover ourselves sharing a new life, the life of Christ himself. This is what the disciples discovered in Christ, and what the early Christian writings about the Passion and Resurrection explore in terms of a new access to the Father, a new realization of the Fatherhood of God in the Sonship
This is what the disciples discovered in Christ, and what the early Christian writings about the Passion and Resurrection explore in terms of a new access to the Father, a new realization of the Fatherhood of God in the Sonship of Jesus-a Sonship he shares with us in the power of the Holy Spirit.We make this our own by our faith in him, our hope and love.in Christ, we grow to our full stature in the image and likeness of God (Eph. 3.8-19).
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