I will be the first to admit that one of my biggest challenges is that I have difficulty seeing other people’s point of view… especially when the subject matter is something I have spent time researching and studying.
Admittedly, this doesn’t typically bother me. However, my Mrs. and I help facilitate a Small Group at our local church and my inability or even unwillingness to step back and consider that there may be another view worth considering has left me with a feeling of great unworthiness: even of creating division. Precisely the opposite of what Small Groups are about.
What has lead me to this epiphany is that we got into a discussion about silent prayer and audible prayer. I have read and studied many passages in Holy Scripture, read books, been to work-shops and had numerous discussions about prayer. But I have never seen or heard (specifically) discussed the value or merit of silent prayer. Or so I thought.
The discussion at Small Group last week (by some measure) had a pretty contentious atmosphere about it. Not the loving, accepting and valuing atmosphere we typically aspire to and experience.
I must acknowledge and accept that this atmosphere was created by my rigid stance that audible prayer is by far the most effective way to communicate with our Creator. In fact, I believe that my approach to this subject matter did more to push some people away than it did to draw them closer to God.
Yes, I understand that I am not the Holy Spirit and that regardless of what goes on around us we are each individually held accountable for our spiritual standing with the Lord (by His grace and mercy). Never-the-less, I further understand that I will be held accountable for throwing road blocks in the paths of those seeking a more meaningful relationship with the Lord.
Romans 14:17 For, after all, the important thing for us as Christians is not what we eat or drink but stirring up goodness and peace and joy from the Holy Spirit. 18 If you let Christ be Lord in these affairs, God will be glad; and so will others. 19 In this way aim for harmony in the church, and try to build each other up.
I have fallen woefully short in creating harmony. For that I am very sorry and confess that I will/must change my ways in these matters.
There is a bit of good news though. This has caused me to take a closer look at my prayer life and style. While I am completely comfortable with praying out loud, I had neglected to take into consideration what roll silent prayer (and meditation) plays in my life and too what extent I (personally) employ it.
The results of my “review” have been quite convicting! Who am I to tell others what the best way is for them to pray?! We each have our own unique way that we are best able to communicate with our Creator. I have come to better understand that God has created each of us so uniquely that only HE (through His Holy Spirit) will determine how best to commune with each individual.
I can only ask for grace and forgiveness from those whom I have offended with my pious attitude.