The one thing we most urgently need in Western Christendom is a deeper knowledge of God. We need to know God better. When it comes to knowing God, we are a culture of the spiritually stunted. So much of our religion is packaged to address our felt needs - and these are almost uniformly anchored in our pursuit of our own happiness and fulfillment. God simply becomes the Great Being who, potentially at least, meets our needs and fulfills our aspirations. We think rather little of what he is like, what he expects of us, what he seeks in us.
Advent, meaning "coming" or "arrival", is the four week period running up to Christmas, beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. For some this is a special time of the year to reflect more deeply on the coming of Jesus into the world to save sinners. Although we should always be thinking on these things, there is value in celebrating special seasons each year. As one authors puts it "When evertything is special, nothing is. God wants us to cultivate a biblical cadence and rhythm to our lives, and not a constant pounding 1".
Did you wake up not feeling like reading your Bible and praying? How many times today have you had to battle not feeling like doing things you know would be good for you? While it’s true that this is our indwelling sin that we must repent of and fight against, there’s more going on.
Think about this strange pattern that occurs over and over in just about every area of life:
* Good food requires discipline to prepare and eat while junk food tends to be the most tasty, addictive, and convenient.
* Keeping the body healthy and strong requires frequent deliberate discomfort while it only takes constant comfort to go to pot.
* You have to make yourself pick up that nourishing theological book while watching a movie can feel so inviting.
* You frequently have to force yourself to get to devotions and prayer while sleeping, reading the sports, and checking Facebook seems effortless.
* To play beautiful music requires thousands of hours of tedious practice.
* To excel in sports requires monotonous drills ad nauseum.
Here's some interesting thoughts from a pastor who wants to see more people at his prayer meeting. We could apply much of this to our own Wednesday night meeting. Coram Deo is the name of the church by the way.
Perplexed about prayer
Since the launch of Coram Deo, we’ve gathered every Wednesday night for an hour of communal prayer. And when I say “we,” I mean a dozen or two faithful people. The faces change from time to time, but rarely are there more than 15 people in the room.