The 'otherness of God'

We are conscious that, as we call people to prayer, we are calling everyone towards pain. Inevitably, as we pray more we will have to embrace and not gloss over the needs of those we love as we pray for them. Furthermore we will have to come to terms with our own unanswered prayers. 

We fully recommend 'God on Mute' by Pete Greig and 'Walking with God through Pain and Suffering' by Tim Keller as really good books on the relationship between prayer and suffering.

We've heard a lot about the 'nearness' of God as we've thought about prayer over the last year or so. In my experience, the journey with God through unanswered prayer involves an experience of both the nearness and the distance of God. We need to know His comforting presence near to us as we come to terms with the pain of unanswered prayer. Crucially, and often forgotten, we also need to come to terms with his 'otherness'. Often I have been reminded that His thoughts are higher than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9) and this helps me to trust in Him when I cannot see for myself. 

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So as we respond to the Call to Prayer in the coming weeks, prepare to embrace pain, your own and others and remember that this God is both near AND far.

James Stevenson