The Shelf Life of Prayer

I grew up in the church. My parents used to read a devotion (Hollaatcha boy!) and pray with me each night before going to sleep.  Later in life, at the ripe old age of nine, I remember reading about Solomon, and how when God offered him anything his heart desired, he asked for wisdom. So I did too. Years and years later, I would be involved in a prayer group that would change my spiritual life. There’s honestly no telling what I prayed (read:shouted) for in that dark sanctuary. God was close and that was all that really mattered.

So, God exists outside of time. The Bible is pretty clear(ish) about the fact that God was around way before us, and will continue to be there for the foreseeable future and beyond. He watched a glacier carve the Grand Canyon, he’s seen the continents slip across the ocean to where they’re located currently and watched civilizations rise and fall atop them. He’ll be there when the zombies attack, and when the sun finally explodes reducing everything in our galaxy into glowing cinders.

If our understanding of the Bible is correct, then God has always existed. There was no “beginning” for him. God has no point of origin; he has always been there. And the same is true of the future. No end. So what does that mean? That means that God actually exists in a state outside of our understanding (and physical experience) of time.

Imagine a wind tunnel. Let’s say that we were asked to walk down the length of that tunnel. Blindfolded. With the fans on. And someone dropped a bag full of marbles and a bucket full of oil in there. As humans, we live our life inside this wind tunnel, struggling against the breeze for seventy or so years until eventually we slip or get get blown away. God, on the other hand, exists outside the wind tunnel. He doesn’t feel the wind in the least. He can go anywhere he wants.  In fact, he can easily maneuver around the entire tunnel and can even see when we’re about to step on something slippery. (Whether or not we hear him over the roar of the wind is for another post.)

So God is with time. Why is this relevant? Because… I think this means that God is present in every moment there has ever been or ever will be… at the same time.  To God, the past present and future mean nothing because he’s already there. So…

At the ripe old age of nine, I remember reading about Solomon, and how when God offered him anything his heart desired, he asked for wisdom. So I did too. And to God, that JUST happened. To Him, It’s like I’m praying for wisdom right now. And now. And now. So, what does this mean? I think it means that our prayers are infinite investments into our own lives. When I was nine years old and asking God to make me smarter, I think he heard that, and continues to hear it all the time. Who knows? Maybe that prayer has changed my life in ways I can’t imagine. Maybe this post is a direct result of God answering that prayer. Maybe in every decision I’ve faced since then or will face, God remembers that I once asked him for wisdom and he chooses to grant me insight I might not have had otherwise. Maybe at one point your ancestors prayed for their future progeny. Even the prayers we have spoken for ourselves have been lost to time, but not to God.

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3 responses to “The Shelf Life of Prayer

  1. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. ~ Isaiah 46:10

    • Now that I think of it I think this is why people get caught up with the calvinism vs free will debate. They assume that god is constrained by time like we are and that somehow foreknowledge equals lack of free will. However God is no more constrained by time then he is by space or gravity and exists outside of time, as Isaiah 57:15 says that god inhabits/dwells/lives in eternity. God is simply bigger than we can begin to understand.

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