The great masters of prayer have compared the spiritual life to an ocean. On the surface life may be roiled by wind and tides. Yet beneath the surface, even amid a stormy sea, the water is calm. Deep contentment and inner peace are anchored in these depths – the truth behind, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Why is praise so important? Why is it a consistent feature of almost every prayer? Does God need it? No. God’s ego is not so fragile that God needs our constant praise and support. But God knows we need to praise God in order to keep our focus centered on God. We need to remember who God is and how God acts prior to our asking God for anything.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus… And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.” A robust theology of creation does not lead to this world-denying conclusion, but rather results in full and joyous participation in creation. Things do not become dimmer, but rather, they become clearer in light of God’s truth concerning creation.
Still in his 20s, John Lennon possessed everything that people assume leads to happiness: fame, fortune, power, and prominence. And yet, none of these things brought him the peace he craved. He was willing to give away everything for just a little peace of mind. If peace is not found in performance, possessions, or popularity, where can it be found?
Dan Folgerberg’s “Longer” is one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. There is just one problem with the song: It is not true! Even though the love described in “Longer” is humanly impossible, there is a reason a song like this touches us so deeply. This is the kind of love we long for – the kind of love we sing about and dream about.