Pastor Sean Palmer asked us to consider what the psalms of lament and the film Bruce Almighty have to say about the nature of prayer and our relationship to a Creator who invites us into intimate friendship. Whether in rejoice or in anger, we are called to relate to God in honesty as a Divine Friend; a friend who knows our needs better than we do; a friend who longs for us to align our prayer and actions in joyful submission toward God's redemptive movement.
2 Chronicles 20: 7
Isaiah 41: 8
John 2: 23
“An event comes along in life which we call an inciting incident. Either by choice, accident or both, life is thrown out of balance. That imbalance arouses in the protagonist a desire to put life back on an even keel. To do that, they conceive of something that they need, an object of desire so to speak, that they feel would restore life’s balance. That’s what causes us to think, feel, and change—an inciting incident!”
- Robert McKee
“Well, I answer with Elijah, Jonah, and Job. And I answer it with my understanding of what God seeks with all of us, which is relationship. Relationship demands honesty. And while I don't think we're ever to live in our anger and our rage, to express it is to express a step along the journey. Bruce raged at God, and a few weeks later he got a chance to see how silly and self-indulgent that was. But had he not raged, had he not been honest, who knows whether he could have taken the steps that he did.”
- Tom Shadyac
“Yes…here comes the big controversy.…The word in that sentence is that you “keep” looking up. It’s not that you look up—I think looking up is essential, because I believe it’s a reality. It’s in your blood, your DNA, and it’s in mine. However, to keep looking up means that we expect God to do everything for us. There’s a story about a nun who went to God and asked, “Why God don’t you do something about the poor and the sick?” And God said, “I did, I made you. Jesus went up, leaving us as his hands, his feet, his heart—an expression of love.”
- Tom Shadyac
“He went to an awful lot of trouble, I can tell you that. I’ve been the one on the ground struggling, asking God why don’t you answer this prayer. I couldn’t get work ten years ago—I couldn’t get arrested. I remember I had an opportunity to direct an episode of this show, “She’s the Sheriff,” and I thought for sure it was going to happen, but it didn’t. I was screaming “why, why, why?” Of course, in hindsight, I can see why. I was learning to die to my own way and to embrace the divine way. I think God goes to an awful lot of trouble with most of us.”
- Tom Shadyac
Reflection & Practice
Pastor Sean suggests that the essence of prayer is about the alignment of our hearts; being "in synch" with God's preferred future. Do your prayers this week reflect that submission and selflessness? How will you participate in those prayers being put into action?
Do you see God as Friend? What in you fights against that thought? How do you personify God?
Our challenge this week is to see, relate to, and love God evermore as a Friend. Commit to spending a few minutes in this meditation, and practice praying with the sort of simplicity by which you normally relate to friends. How will you talk to God? What might God say in response?
Hail To The Lord's Anointed
Be Thou My Vision
All My Tears
Gravity Of Love
Call Him Good
Come Ye Sinners