Sunday 27 March 2011

A dose of mysticism in intercessionary prayer? A soul focus?


I sense that Christian churches are so permeated with worldliness that they now see the human condition in a *primarily* worldly frame.

For example in the case of intercessionary prayer. It seems normal, almost universal, to pray for those who are suffering - bodily - from illness, poverty, natural disasters and war.

And in the case of specific, known, local people, this is surely right (although our threshold for suffering is very low by historical standards - especially in terms of poverty).


But the amount of attention paid by churches to mass suffering seems, while clearly not wrong, to be strategically counter productive - in a secular society it assimilates the church to secular life.

It seems that our guided prayers ought to be very clearly distinct from what the mass media happens to be featuring as 'good cause of the week'.


The church ought not to be striving to be 'topical and relevant', it ought to be striving in the opposite direction; and insofar as any reference is made to mass suffering it ought, surely, to be concerned with the souls of those who suffer, and not with the socio-political alleviation of their physical suffering as such?

If suffering is inevitable, and cannot usually be alleviated; surely public Christian prayer should ask for spiritual resources to endure suffering, and to use suffering to advance spiritually?


Anonymous said...

The big step for me was regularly praying for the salvation of those who oppose us.

The Crow said...

Inasmuch as the Christian Church has any relevance at all, any more, you are quite right. It follows.
Probably it's a bit late now, for U-turns. You never know.
It would be very pleasant to be wrong about this. The end of Christendom is a terrible thing to witness.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Anonymous - please sign with a pseudonym, so that if you comment more than once here, the comments can have a provenance.