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"Why We Pray" - Man Stopped Answering God

Read an excerpt from "Why We Pray" by William Philip

Why We Pray

Meaningful speech, communication, and healthy relationship go together. Conversely, when communication is cut off completely, there can’t be an ongoing relationship. Alas, that is where Genesis 3 leaves humanity:

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever”—therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (vv. 22–24)

So, tragically, early in his story, man is shut out of the garden of God. He is shut out from hearing God’s voice. He is barred from talking to God. There are no more strolls in the cool of the day. There is just total silence. Man has refused to respond to God’s gracious words; he has taken his own way, and, therefore, with great sadness, God has to say, “Okay, you won’t listen. I’ll stop the conversation. I’ll back off.” So man, created as human for communion with God, became, well, subhuman, not talking anymore to God, who made him. That’s pretty much the way the world has been ever since. Man won’t listen to God; he puts his fingers in his ears and says, “I don’t need to listen to this! I reject God, if there is a God. I don’t need God. I’ll live as my own God. I’m not listening.” It’s a bit like a cross teenager who storms into the bedroom, slams the door, and turns up the music so that he can’t hear his parents’ voices if they’re calling him, and he hopes because the music is so awful his parents will stay away.

Anyone with teenage children knows all about that, just as they also know that such behavior doesn’t, in fact, solve teenage angst. Hiding away and refusing to listen to reason doesn’t bring happiness and peace and fulfillment. Nor has it done so for our world or the lives of the people of our world, and that is the tragedy of the human condition. That’s why we are as we are, and that’s why the world is as it is. God created us for speech, for communion, for relationship with him, and yet we have broken that relationship because we have refused to respond. As a result, we can’t relate to God, even if we want to. We don’t talk anymore, and we can’t talk anymore. There’s nothing to say. Our relationship is in irretrievable breakdown.

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