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101 Most Powerful Prayers in the Bible
By Steve Rabey, Lois Rabey and Claire Cloninger
Warner FaithCopyright © 2003 Claire Cloninger
All right reserved.
Chapter OneReturn to the Garden
A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17
ONCE there was a garden where prayer flowed like rivers, where thanksgiving sprang up like grass, and worship fell like morning rain. In that garden, that distant land, that long-ago paradise, a friendship with the Father was the most natural thing on earth. In that garden we walked and talked with God.
That relationship was the one for which the Creator designed us. And although it contained everything we would ever require for fulfillment and joy, we let it go. We let it slip away. We let go of love and touched temptation and the garden vanished.
Now many times we move through our lives without even realizing that the most essential part of who we are is missing, like a phantom limb. We experience an aching emptiness at the center of ourselves we can't quite express. As we navigate snarled lanes of traffic, juggle the minutiae of our jobs, work at being the best parents, children, or friends we can be, we know that something fundamental is missing. As we try to pull together the hundred loose ends of our lives that should provide meaning, we so often come up empty. Even we Christians, who know on some level that we are God's forgiven children, find ourselves longing for a deeper sense of connectedness with him; a deeper sense of union.
How can we reclaim the sweet intimacy of the Garden of Eden- the place where the man and the woman walked with God in the cool of the day without shame and with total abandon? How can we move into that place again?
God is showing us the way. He has left us every clue to his presence and every evidence of his yearning for us, like scattered bread along the path of prayer. He is waiting for us to come with broken spirits and contrite hearts. He is drawing us to himself, saying, "Here I am. Come to me.
"Come with a trusting heart like David when he prayed, 'Because you are my help, / I sing in the shadow of your wings' [Ps. 63:7].
"Come with a surrendered heart like Mary when she said, 'May it be to me as you have said' [Luke 1:38].
"Come with a thankful heart like Paul when he praised me as the one who is able to do 'immeasurably more' than all he could ask or imagine [Eph. 3:20].
"Come home, my child. I am waiting."
O Lord, thank you for inviting us to pray. Thank you for calling us back to you: out of our weariness into your rest, out of our need into your abundance, out of our loneliness into your friendship. Continue to draw us to you. Teach us to pray. Amen.
Excerpted from 101 Most Powerful Prayers in the Bible by Steve Rabey, Lois Rabey and Claire Cloninger Copyright © 2003 by Claire Cloninger
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.