One Scripture verse that encourages me to pray comes from Psalm 81:10, I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. This reminds me of newly hatched birds in a nest and their wide-mouthed pleas for food from their parents. Our heavenly Father delights to receive our pleas in prayer, and He promises to answer us! We ought often to pray, and to “open wide out mouths” in expectancy of God’s blessing.
Today, the first Thursday in May, is our National Day of Prayer in the USA. I hope all Christians will take time (perhaps at Noon) to seek the Lord in heart-felt prayer for mercy on America. Let me further encourage you with a few historical quotes that define the work of prayer…
- Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Spirit, for such things as God has promised. — John Bunyan
- Prayer as it comes from the saint is weak and languid; but when the arrow of a saint’s prayer is put into the bow of Christ’s intercession it pierces the throne of grace. — Thomas Watson
- Prayer is the sweat of the soul. — Martin Luther
- Neglect of private prayer is the locust which devours the strength of the church. — C. H. Spurgeon
As the media continues to wig-out over our wintry weather, and as pop culture fills terabytes of social media with pictures and captions expressing weather weariness, Christians should remain vigilant not to use the pagan language referring to nature as our “Mother.”
I was reminded of this as I read the latest dispatch from The Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College. Just today Dr. Gary L. Welton, an assistant dean and professor of psychology at GCC wrote a great little essay: “Mother Nature? Nature is Not Our Mother.” It’s more than a boiler-plate warning; he shares some interesting insights, stirred by the old G. K. Chesteron. Welton writes —
G. K. Chesterton, however, wrote in “Orthodoxy” that, “The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister.” He argued that because we share the same father, we are siblings. Nature has no authority over us. “Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved.”
He also quotes James Fennimore Cooper as he elaborates on the whole sibling idea. But he does arrive at an important consideration:
Although the analogy of nature as our sister works better than the analogy of nature as our mother, there is a sense in which the analogy falls short. In the creation mandate, we are instructed to have dominion over nature. My parents never gave me any dominion over my sister. Although there are a few times I tried to establish such dominion, she never allowed it. Our charge to have dominion over nature is not consistent with the sister analogy.
This is timely stuff from the helpful Vision & Values team at GCC. I suggest you subscribe to their emails. At least click on over and read Welton’s essay (just a page or so long), here.