There's fluffy white bread - italian loaf, farmhouse white, wonderbread - no appreciable nutrients, devoid of fibre, gluey, unhealthy junk bread. .
Then there's dense, stone-ground, 12 grain loaf - heavy, fibrous, filling, satisfying and vitamin rich.
Books can be just like bread. .
I'm reading a dense, whole-grain book right now on the subject of prayer. Its simply called "Prayer" . The author is Philip Yancey. I like Mr. Yancey's way with words. I like his doubts and questions. I like how he doesn't just blithely join the 'just believe' camp. He pulls up the log and lets all the creatures underneath crawl out and he examines them - not with disgust, but with a desire for honest learning. Ultimately he comes to the faith side. . . exercising it, living it, believing in the language of prayer and in its power. This is no literary wonderbread. It sticks with you. You can't eat too much at once. It takes time to digest. Prayer seems like a simple thing and to everyone it may bring a different association, reaction, opinion. Some aren't interested in prayer. Some think its okay, follow your own path. Some may be active pray-ers who love their relationship with God and maybe others find the notion of communicating with an invisible someone more than a little bizarre.
I'm in a relationship with God. I'm learning how to live. The world isn't always so good at teaching me. I need a better model. . . so, i'm a life-long apprentice. Though there are certain ways to learn about God and know him: Bible reading, praying, listening to 'sermons', reading "Christian" books, its surprising how many other ways there are to learn: talking to people, reading a billboard while you drive, helping others, watching movies, listening to music, working hard at something, experiencing hardship. I have a very creative teacher. Even so, its easy to get used to living a life of 'faith' and before i know it, i think i've learned plenty and i easily become teflon coated. . . valuable lessons slide right off me cuz i think i've already covered that. This is one of the reasons i bought this book. As i plod my way through it i find myself almost overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of my ignorance. I thought i knew so much. Shame on me. Sometimes being an apprentice means eating humble pie over and over and over again!!!
I'll leave you with a quote and with that i'll say goodnight.
" Prayer remains a struggle for me. On the other hand, so does forgiving someone who has wronged me. So does loving my neighbour. So does caring for the needy. I persist in prayer because i am fulfilling God's command and also because i believe i am doing what is best for me, whether or not i feel like it at the time. . . The great English preacher Leslie Weatherhead's experience echoes that of many others: 'I have always found prayer difficult. So often it seems like a fruitless game of hide and seek in which we seek and God hides. I know God is patient with me. Without that patience i should be lost. But frankly i have to be patient with him. With no other friend would i go on seeking with such scant, conscious response. Yet i cannot leave prayer alone for long. My need drives me to him. And I have a feeling that he has his own reasons for hiding himself, and that finally my seeking will prove infinitely worthwhile. . . i long for more satisfaction but I cannot cease from questing. Jesus sometimes found prayer difficult. Some of his most agonized prayers were not answered. But he did not give up his praying. I frankly have little to show for all my prayers, but i cannot give up, for my soul longs for Christ and i know that outside God there is nothing at all but death.'