If the author truly means devastate, to lay waste or destroy, then I take it that he means we enter into prayer from a fallen state that causes us always to question whether or not we are praying the right way. Of course, we always seek to pray with faith, as we are commanded to, but what questions/requests can we make and still be asking in faith? Sometimes, I struggle to ask the simplest question because it sounds too demanding of God, and I resort to apologizing for asking an all loving and all knowing God to do anything I just asked for because I made Him sound unfeeling or unwise. Prayer is difficult if you think about it. Perhaps, we are not supposed to pray and think about it at the same time. If we do, we risk remembering that the devastation of sin has not been entirely repaired in us, and we don't really know how to pray. Still, we are commanded to pray. It's as if God does not care how artless or inadequate our prayers may be; He is God and He knows that Christians in this world will usually sound like idiots, but He loves us anyway, and He hears our hearts and not our words.
Philip,I don't think we need to turn off our thinker when we pray, but we need to turn off our thinker when it comes to sorting out a theology of prayer, if you will. It is beyond making sense. God commands us to do it; promises great things in regard to it; and gives us the words and pattern to use. But He never once invites us to figure out how it works, and that's where we run into all kind of difficulties. I know in my own life, the more I've learned to just pray and not worry about theories of prayer, the more joyful and wonderful my experience in prayer has become. Of course, I'm still a novice - no expert. But the joys of prayer are such that having tasted them, I never want to go back.
Yes, I was trying to say that maybe it is wrong to pray and think about whether or not what I am saying is needless or foolish or presumptous. Just pray and let God sort it out. One must think when one prays, but maybe thinking about how human I am and how divine God is will only lead me into apologizing and saying, "Sorry, Lord, I know that you know that and that you do really care." The fact that God allows us to psrticipate in His decisions by merely talking to Him is beyond figuring out. I also think it proves that He has a sense of humor, as well as unfailing love.
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