Monday, June 27, 2011

Natural vs Formal Faith

Not too long ago I attended a sort of faith conference for a national church denomination. Many people spoke and presented throughout, but I remember two extremes being present.

Faith in life that is natural is beautiful, captivating, desirable.

Faith that’s separate from life, that’s rigid and formal... it’s awkward, off-putting.

There’s a definite difference.

Maybe being in my second language made the two stand out even more. When I heard run-on prayers that were formal and seemingly separate from life, I tended to look around for an exit, or daydream, or check my phone for messages that may have arrived in the last 10 seconds. But then a couple of times people got up to share or pray, made a joke, looked to the sky and praised God for the sunny day, and naturally slid into prayers or encouragement that actually fit right in, like they were a part of the conversation and the day.

Think through life. Have you known people for whom prayer comes naturally, and feels simple and relevant? Or contrasted, how many prayers have you heard that are lengthy, wordy, formulated, and simply... not natural?

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