Friday, June 28, 2002

Friday's Intentions:

We must pray, every day. It's as important to our spiritual health as drinking water is to our physical. And the effects of not doing either are comparable. When you get dehydrated the symptoms start out mild but get worse the longer it goes on. First, you get a little tired, maybe a headache (a nurse once told me dehydration causes more than half of all headaches. Bet the makers of Tylenol will sue me now!). Then you can get dizzy, disoriented, irritable. Next comes vomiting and severe pain, hallucinations. Then your kidneys and other organs shut down, and finally, comes death. Interestingly, when the kidneys shut down, you have to revive a person with waer very slowly. At that stage, suddenly trying to take in a lot of water can kill a person just as surely as withholding it entirely.

The spiritual symptoms of de-pray-ation are very similar. No real harm done at first, just a little out of balance, and you can easily restore the balance very quickly. But if you don't, soon you get a spiritual hurt, that you try to chase away with spiritual analgesics, like money or lust. Those mask the symptoms for a bit, but don't address the root cause. But soon you begin to be angry at the cuase of your pain (the lack of prayer) and imagine that it is the fault of a God you no longer acknowledge. Your spiritual self begins to shut down, and you risk death. Here, too, trying to do too much at once can be as bad as not doing anything. We have all seen sudden, glorious conversions that burn out just as quickly and just as suddenly.

The solution to dehydration is to drink water regularly, and to cut back on or avoid entirely diuretics like caffeine and alcohol. And when you do partake of the diuretics, you have to drink more water, not less.

In the spirit it is the same. Pray daily to keep your system clear. When you participate in a spiritual "diuretic"--whatever worldly attachments you have can be thus--you need to respond with more prayer, not less.

I am condemning neither coffee nor wine (two of my favorite beverages) nor worldly attachments. Christ's first miracle was the provision of wine for a party, and he has commanded us to live in the world, and t do our best by it while we do so. But I am telling you that anything done Intemperately must be met with a deliberate and careful response as a counterbalance. Newton's Laws of Motion (an equal and opposite reaction to every action) and the Asian concept of Yin and Yang say essentially this same thing.

Therefore, today's intentions are for all those in need of praying, that sufficent Grace might be granted them to turn them back to a spiritual renewal, and a balancing out of the forces that drive them from prayer.


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