Praying in Nature: Listening for God
July 2, 2017
During July we are focusing on how the natural world can enhance our prayer life.
Genesis 22, the story of Abraham's near sacrifice of his son Isaac, provokes many different thoughts, but let us concentrate for a moment on the setting. Abraham hears the call to sacrifice in his camp. Then God draws him out into the wilderness and instructs him to listen closely—go to the place I will show you. Abraham must remain open to God’s word as he journeys forth, and that word is revealed in stages out in nature.
Abraham sees that Mount Moriah is the place for the sacrifice, but God’s word is not yet fully revealed. Abraham and Isaac climb the mountain. Isaac asks his father where the sacrificial lamb is and Abraham responds that God will provide. As he works on building the altar, Abraham keeps listening. Finally, just when he is about to slaughter his son, he hears a further word from God: "Stop! Do not harm the boy." A ram appears in the thicket to take Isaac's place. Up on the mountain, away from the distractions of human society, Abraham hears that God’s will is for life. Abraham remains faithful and open to hearing God’s word of salvation and Isaac is saved.
Abraham gives thanks to the God who is seen or who provides. The ambiguity of the Hebrew brings out the connection between seeing God and seeing God’s provision. Sometimes in our busyness, we miss the provision that God offers us. We have to break out of our daily routine to experience God’s presence and to hear clearly what God is saying to us.
This week, go outside - walk among the trees or by a lake. Sit in the grass. Watch the sunset and listen closely for how God calling in your life. Where is God speaking a word of salvation or offering provision? What do you see on Mount Moriah that calls you to unbind another from the bondage of death? Listen closely for God’s voice in the wilderness.