Nuggets on Renewal

Here are some flavorful nuggets from a recent reading of Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life, a book well worth reading.

On the lack of congregational prayer:

“Undoubtedly the small quantity of intelligent intercessory prayer in most twentieth-century congregations is part of the short-circuiting of missionary consciousness among the laity. The establishment of the kingdom of God is an elusive task; we cannot even see what it involves in our vicinity without specific prayer, and we certainly will have little urgency to carry it out unless we are praying.” (page 157)

On the misdirected focus of our prayers:

“In small prayer groups, often the concerns which are shared and prayed about are wholly personal, involved with healing, psychological adjustment and other immediate individual burdens. Larger issues which are closely related to the interests of the kingdom of God are ignored. Groups in which this occurs should make a determined effort to engage in kingdom-oriented prayer.” (pages 158-159)

Arguing against what he sees as the ‘monastic’ tendencies of many churches, the tendency to withdraw from the world and send evangelistic forays into it:

“Ultimately, however, [the church] loses by this approach: it erects too great a cultural gap between the believing community and the surrounding world, and it fails to see that converts are won more by the observable blessedness of a whole way of life than by the arguments of individuals.”

On the intersection of change and solidity in the church:

“The church ought to be like a mobile sculpture in which fixed forms of truth and fellowship are constantly shifting their relationship to harmonize with the decor of the social and cultural environment. Enculturation freezes the form of the mobile until it becomes a static monument, a reminder of the past which appears to have no relevance for the present.” (pages 197-198)