Growing up Literature was my favorite subject. I credit a mother who encouraged reading and a string of wonderful teachers for my love of the subject.
In senior high I had an English teacher who could make what we read come alive. I recall reading texts at home in preparation for class, sludging through painfully, all the while cursing the author and crying “Why don’t you just say what you mean!?”
Then I’d arrive at class.
Full of enthusiasm and unwilling to let us passively disengage from the lesson, our teacher would ask us question after question and lead us to a deeper understanding of the text. She’d unpack the historical references, shed light on the double meaning of words, and explore with us the imagery that was otherwise lost to our teenage suburban minds.
And I loved it!
God recently brought to mind this depth of learning, as he has been teaching me more and more about the benefits of prayer. Prayer not only helps us understand who God is and what he has revealed about himself, but it is also the place where God stirs in us question after question and leads us to a deeper understanding of ourselves. Drawing close to the one who made us, we come to a better understanding of who we are.
“We are his workmanship” Paul tells us. (Ephesians 2:10) God is the author of our lives. If we go to him, let him guide us, he will reveal to us who we are and the meaning of our lives. He can unpack our history, helping us see how he has always been there even in times we couldn’t feel his presence. He can shed light on the true meaning of our lives, pointing out where real joy and true freedom can be found. He can help us glimpse his extraordinary plan for our lives which might otherwise be diminished by our sometimes hope deprived, virtue starved world.
Psalm 92 says “O Lord, how great are your works! How deep are your designs!” Indeed, his designs are deep. They are written deep within our hearts.
And if you meet God there in prayer, he will show up. Full of enthusiasm and unwilling to let you passively disengage from the lesson, he will reveal to you who he is and in turn show you the deep design he has written in you.
And you’ll love it.