Withdraw to the Mountains to Pray

Yesterday I spoke on this and today I need to say it again- not for you – for me. So many of my friends are drowning in depression and are agonized by anxiety that I want to encourage and challenge you with this : there is nothing you can do.

Well, you know it’s true. You know all the Bible verses. That’s not working. You’ve pray’d, in the sense, that you’ve said what you’ve needed to say. That’s not working. Maybe even distracted yourself with whatever you usually do – and that’s not working.

So what else is there?

The gospel is like a box that once you open it, you realize there is no bottom. It’s like a magic trick or an optical illusion in a movie – only this is no digital effect – when it comes to God – all things are endlessly knowable.

Maybe, it’s because I’m an American, or maybe it’s a global wide phenomenon by now that my country has exported around the world – but when it comes to transforming ourselves, as Christians, we actually think we can do it ourselves. Same goes eradicating anxiety.

Oh, sure we can calm ourselves down with breathing exercises, and momentarily pacify our emotions with alcohol or yoga.

But whenever change rests on my shoulders, you can bet that with the next rolling tide my worries will be carried in with the next round of waves.

When it comes to anxiety and worry my favorite metaphor is God as a campfire. Because when it comes to getting warm – there’s nothing you can do except sit by a campfire. You are not fire. And just like you are not fire – you are also not ‘peace.” – Which is what you really want to be content and anxiety free from your worries. But you are not contentment itself. Or peace. Or a campfire.

But God is all those things. Oh sure you “pray” – but were you ever taught to pray the way Jesus tried to teach the disciples to pray before they asked to teach him to pray.

Isn’t that interesting?

The disciples had to ask Jesus to teach them to pray. This wasn’t in some 101 class on discipleship. They still didn’t get it. When they were with Jesus – they were praying. Maybe the most foundational lesson there is in prayer.

True prayer is: being present to Presence.

Much like sitting by a campfire.

I can’t quite explain it – but it’s all I can offer. But when you learn to withdraw to the mountains to pray a prayer without words….when you can learn to sit and enjoy the company of your Friend without any words needed to be spoken (like a good friend on a road trip, after all your catching up and philosophical conversations have come to a halt)…when you can lay in the lap of your Abba…when you can relax in the hammock with your True Lover….when you are comfortable with just BEING with the Great I AM…the FIRE is what calms you. Not you calming yourself. The FIRE of God is what melts away your anxiety and fears…and all that’s left is a gift you were born with : trusting that you are loved beyond your wildest imagination and comprehension.

Dive into the Deep End of God’s Love for you my fellow Ragamuffins,

David Leo Schultz

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