Excerpt from The Making Of An Ordinary Saint

Prayer is the heart’s true home. But, you see, we have been in a far country. It’s been a country of climb and push and shove. It’s been a country of noise and hurry and crowds.

The heart of God is an open wound of love because of this distance and preoccupation of ours. God mourns that we do not draw near to him. God weeps over our obsession with “muchness” and “manyness.”

And God is seeking after us. God seeks us like the father rushing out to embrace the prodigal. God seeks us like the woman who will leave no stone unturned in her determination to find a lost coin. God seeks us like the shepherd searching, searching, searching for one lost sheep. God is seeking us.

God invites us to come home: home to where we belong; home to serenity and peace and joy; home to intimacy and acceptance and affirmation.

God welcomes us into the living room of his heart where we can put on old slippers and share freely. God welcomes us into the bedroom of his rest where we can be naked and vulnerable and free. It is also the place of deepest intimacy where we can know and be known to the fullest.

And it doesn’t matter if we have little faith, or none. It doesn’t matter if we have been bruised and broken by the pressures of life. It doesn’t matter if our prayers have grown cold and brittle. It doesn’t matter if God seems remote and inaccessible.

Just like a little child can never draw a bad picture, so a child of God can never utter a bad prayer. God, you see, accepts us just the way we are, and he accepts our prayers just the way they are.

But here is the beauty of this interactive life of prayer: God does not leave us the way we are. God’s intention is to transform our inward character into the likeness of Christ. C. S. Lewis writes that God’s intent for you and me is to form us into “a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness.”1 The interactive life of prayer is a central means God uses for bringing this transformative reality into the deep habit structures of our lives.

Now, we must not think of prayer as a flat, dull, one-dimensional experience. Far from it! Prayer is a dance, a love feast, a wrestling match, a high, hilarious party… I could continue adding metaphors for some time. Prayer is so rich and varied and individualized a reality.

The syntax of prayer is love. “True, whole prayer is nothing but love,” writes Augustine of Hippo.2 “The Trinity is our everlasting lover,” declares Julian of Norwich.3 “Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,” cries out Charles Wesley.4 The heart of God is open wide to receive us; we are welcome to come home.

Now Underway: The 2018-19 Renovaré Book Club

How do we read for transformation, not just information? First, choose books that stir the soul and have an enduring quality. Then read with God and others at an unhurried pace, attentive to what the Holy Spirit wants to teach. The Renovaré Book Club is designed for transformative reading. It runs October 2018—May 2019.

Learn more >

Foster, Nathan. The Making of an Ordinary Saint: My Journey from Frustration to Joy with the Spiritual Disciplines. Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

In Nathan’s book, introductions to each chapter—like this one from the Prayer chapter—were written by Richard Foster.

[1] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 205– 6.

[2] Augustine quoted in Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (New York: HarperCollins, 1992), 255.

[3] Denise Nowakowski Baker, Julian of Norwich’s Showings: From Vision to Book (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), 145.

[4] Charles Wesley, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” 1740.