Personal God is my first book by Tim Stafford, but it will not be my last. As you will see in the quotes below, he makes you think.
When you say you have a “personal relationship” with a prominent person, it means you can get to that person outside official channels; perhaps you can call him at home. Other people may now him by reputation, but you know him. You are not just associates; you’re friends. p. 14
If we don’t approach Him with our concerns, He waits. He could fix things without us, but He would rather stay quiet until we join Him. When at long last we come to Him with our concerns, we take the first step into what He most seeks: communion between creature and Creator, who join in partnership toward the reconciliation of all things. This is His priority, above all else. p. 43
I go to pray for my friend with cancer, I try to expunge any idea that I am bringing the matter to God. Rather I try to remember that God is already there. I am not asking Him to join me in my concern. I am joining Him. He has been waiting for me—waiting to act and to help until I am there with Him. He has never, not for an instant, taken His eyes off my friend. p. 44
He is not, we devoutly hope, guided strictly by our requests. Why He sometimes does what we ask and not other times we cannot say. We can only conclude that He knows more than we do about what should be done. p. 44
People sometimes say that prayer works wonders. I do not think this is quite correct. God works wonders. Prayer lets us participate in these and draws us into closer relationship with Him. p. 45
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” we say, and it can be true. But absence may also break people apart, which makes Jesus’ prayer for us all the more poignant. He knew that He would be absent in body for a very long time and that we would miss Him. So He prayed for us in advance: “My prayer is not for [my disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us…I in them and You in Me” (John 17:20-23).
It is for personal relationship that Jesus prays—close personal relationship. He wants us to have the closeness to each other that He and his Father experience. He wants us to be “in” God and He wants to be “in” us. Despite the pain of absence, He asks the Father to create the closest personal relationships—with each other and with God. p. 132
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