Without A Prayer

Without A Prayer

“If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I’d just feel a prayer.” 

― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

My friend Robin and I had a long talk one morning about prayer. Going to God with a list of needs and wants brought some answers. Still, in her experience, many requests seemed unresolved over the years and left her discouraged.

I know what she means. I’ve been caught in that same cycle of disappointment. Some of that pointed to my own flawed beliefs and patterns.

fretful prayer is a revolving doorFor starters, my prayers were often a revolving door of fret. Instead of releasing concerns to God, I’d keep them and remain weighed down.

God spoke to me recently through the word “crease.” The dictionary definition says, “a wrinkle or furrow in the skin, typically of the face, caused by age or a particular facial expression.” Surely, fretful prayers produce wrinkles!

But a crease is also like a rut—“a long deep track made by repeated passage,” or “a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change.” Fretting prayers can become a dead spiritual habit. We do it because we don’t know what else to do. But unanswered prayers can stoke the fires of discontent and unbelief.

Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding California said that many of God’s people are like a dislocated arm. They are alive but not functioning because of disappointment. And so our prayer life actually becomes another tactic the enemy uses to keep us dismayed and far away from God.

How did this happen? Prayer should connect us to God in ever increasing ways!Continue reading



I love finding sleepers—the movies that don’t make it big in the theatres but have a beautiful story to tell. But I’m especially drawn to movies that portray one of the four kinds of love as defined by Buechner here:

“The love for equals is a human thing—of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely.

The world smiles.

The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing—the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.

The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing—to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints.

And then there is the love for the enemy—love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love. It conquers the world.”

—From The Magnificent Defeat by Frederick Buechner

Here are some sleeper recommendations:Continue reading

Tribal Matters

Tribal Matters

Tribal culture is the opposite of isolationIt was October 1986. Hitchhiking across the country, Sebastian Junger stood outside of Gillette Wyoming, carrying a week’s worth of food in his backpack. A man in a soiled union suit walked up the on-ramp toward him. The man’s hair looked wild and matted, but he didn’t seem hostile. Still, Sebastian was young and alone and watched him like a hawk.

The man studied him and asked where he was headed.


He nodded. “How much food do you got?”

Sebastian was happy to share his food, but he didn’t want to be robbed.

“Oh, I just got a little cheese.”

He shook his head. “You need more than that.”

Turns out the man lived in a broken-down car. Every day he walked three miles to a coal mine to see if they needed extra hands. Some days they didn’t and that day was one of them.

tribal life makes us part of something“I won’t be needing this,” he said opening his lunchbox, which contained a bologna sandwich, an apple, and a bag of chips—probably provided by a church. “I saw you from town and just wanted to make sure you were okay.” The guy turned and headed toward Gillette.

Sebastian thought about that man for the rest of his trip. In fact, he thought about him for the rest of his life.Continue reading