The Worship Quote of the Week for (09/18/2007):

A More Familiar Relationship with God
When you pray, do you think of God as distant? Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is a testimony of how one believer, a doctor, gained a closer relationship with God through prayer.

I remember well a certain occasion, when I had already become a Christian. I believed in Jesus Christ, and love Him. I took an active part in His Church, and communicated with Him at His Holy Table. But it was God, and not Jesus Christ, who occupied the centre of my devotional life. Of course, He is the same God; but in Jesus we see God more intimately and more nearly, "being made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7). With Him there can be established a more familiar relationship than with the Father alone. There came a day when I was granted a vivid realization of this. I often used to visit, on Church business, an old pastor who never let me go without praying with me. He would address his prayers to Jesus, and I was struck one day by his extreme simplicity. It was as if he were continuing aloud an intimate conversation that he was always carrying on with Him.

When I got back home I talked it over with my wife, and together we asked God to give us also the close fellowship with Jesus that that old pastor had. Since then He has been the centre of my devotion and my traveling companion. He takes pleasure in what I do (cf. Ecclesiastes 9:7), and concerns Himself with it. He is a friend with whom I can discuss everything that happens in my life. He shares my joy and my pain, my hopes and fears. He is there when a patient speaks to me from his heart, listening to him with me and better than I can. And when the patient has gone I can talk to Him about it.

This is no magical Utopia that I am describing. I know full well the dark places that remain, my own unfaithfulness in this continual trysting with Jesus. That is our human nature. Jesus Christ does not take our humanity from us; He comes down into it, so that I can bring my difficulties and failures to Him, and that also helps to maintain our fellowship.

—Paul Tournier, from A DOCTOR'S CASEBOOK IN THE LIGHT OF THE BIBLE (Harper & Row, 1976), as collected in Timothy Dudley-Smith's SOMEONE WHO BEACKONS: READINGS AND PRAYERS FOR 60 DAYS. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1978, pp. 88-89. ISBN 0-87784-7312-2. [I found this volume on E-bay for 25 cents. I had to pay $4 postage, though.]

Have a great week!

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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