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Greetings All,

This weeks 'thought ' has to do with prayer. But not prayer as we often think of it, where we do all the talking and God listens to the many requests and petitions we lay before Him.

No. This thought has to do with prayer as it progresses from verbal conversation with God, to a point where we simply run out of things to say and yet continue to prayerfully remain in His presence (even if
no more words are uttered and no further conversation takes place).

It is by Ole Hallesby of Oslo, Norway. He was one of Norway's leading Christian teachers and devotional writers until he passed away in 1961. This thought comes from his well-known book entitled 'Prayer.' Enjoy.

"Prayer is really an attitude of our hearts toward God. As such it finds expression, at time in words, and at times without words, precisely as it is when two people love each other...

In the soul's fellowship with God in prayer, there are things which can be formulated in words, but there are also things for which we can find no words.
My little boy came in one day and stuck his little head into the doorway of my study. He knew that he was not supposed to disturb me during working hours, and his conscience troubled him a little on account of this. But he looked at me nevertheless, with his kind, round baby eyes and said, 'Papa, dear, I will sit still all the time if you will only let me be here with you.' That he received permission when he approached my father-heart in that way, every father knows.

That little experience gave me a great deal to think about. Is that not the way we often feel with regard to our heavenly Father? We do so love to be with Him, just to be in His presence! And contrary to what is often the case with us, we never disturb Him, no matter when we come or how often we come!

When we pray we speak to Him about everything we have on our minds, both concerning ourselves and others. But there come times, not seldom with me at least, when I have nothing more to tell God. If I were to continue to pray in words, I would have to repeat what I have already said. At such times it is wonderful to say to God, 'May I be in your presence, Lord? I have nothing to say to you, but I do love to be in your presence.'

We cannot do that with everyone. We can spend time together with others in silence only when we know them real well. Otherwise, we must converse with them, and entertain them either with interesting or profound things as the case may be. But with our own dear ones we can speak freely about common and insignificant things. In their presence, too, we can be silent.

Similarly it is not necessary to maintain conversation when we are in the presence of God. We can come into His presence and simply rest our weary souls in quiet contemplation of Him. Our groanings, which cannot be uttered, rise to Him and tell Him better than words how dependent we are on Him.

As evening drew near, and our little fellow had played until he was tired, I noticed he drew closer and closer to his mother. At last he found the place he was longing for -- mother's lap. He did not have a great deal to say either. He simply lay there, and let his mother caress him to sleep.

We too can become tired, deadly tired, of ourselves, of others, of life, of everything! Then it is blessed to know of a place where we can lay our tired head and heart -- our Father's arms -- and say to Him, 'I can do no more. And I have nothing to tell you. May I lie here a while and rest? Everything will soon be well again if I can only rest in your arms a while.' "

Sometimes the best times of prayer are not full of conversation, but interrupted by long periods of contemplation where speaking or even silently formulating petitions to lay before the throne of grace seem totally out of place. "Be still and know that I am God." the Lord commands us in Psalm 46.

Yet be sure that the benefit does not come from being still or silent. This is not a physical relaxation technique. Yoga or pagan meditation can serve that purpose. It comes primarily from the second part of the verse, 'and know that I am God.' It comes from the silent enjoyment of God. From quieting our hearts before the Father and focusing our soul's contemplation upon all that He is -- His greatness, love and mercy toward us. All His infinite perfections.

With prayers that you will, Pastor Jeff