Yesterday I preached a much-too-long-winded sermon at The Salvation Army Richmond Citadel Corps, and the sermon was about the nature of prayer, what it is, how we go about it, and a few other things. So I thought that this week that the Subversion of the Day could be a series of thoughts on prayer, broken down to highlight how this activity, often seen as merely contemplative, is in actuality one of the greatest subversive acts that we could do, and should do daily (and more often than that). So before we get into the real thick of what this word implies for action, I thought it would be good to examine what it actually means.
A commonly used word in the New Testament meaning prayer is the Greek proseuche. The gentleman here goes into a good amount of detail explaining this word, but for our purposes, it is a combination of two words- pros, meaning face to face or intimate; and euche, meaning wish, request or vow. So when put together, this word means to be face to face in an intimate relationship with God where we ask for or give over something.
There is an old Victorian era toy called a thaumatrope that had a disc with a picture on two sides, and a string on both ends. When one would twist the string, it would make it appear to the viewer that they shared the same side while in motion. In a way, this is a good way to view how prayer works- two beings, God and us, seperated deeply but brought together through the thaumatrope, which would be Jesus, and the act of spinning, which would be the Holy Spirit. When it spins, the boundaries between us and Him become so thin, that it looks like we are melding.
So what does this have to do with subversive behavior?
Everything. To really be subversive, you have to break the bonds of the way that we have been taught by the powers and principalities to see the world- division, aggression, violence, and sin/ego/desire/. You have to choose to love, to let yourself be a vessel for the Holy Spirit to love others, and then, the thaumatrope gets spinning. When we love everyone we see to the point that we would die for them, we begin to break the chains of a world that shoots first and asks questions later, and we begin to see heaven get a little closer to earth. When we pray, we come face to face with God, and He then can use use to pierce the darkness. Pray to love others, and subvert the powers today.
The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.