I'm currently rereading two books, Philip Yancey's Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference, and Don Miller's Searching for God Knows What. I don't know how many people bother to reread books but I do it fairly regularly; I'm really glad that I did because there's more than a few things that I had forgotten since the first read, and some things that I never even picked up on the first time round.
In Yancey's book on prayer he relates the following story about a tourist observing a Jew praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
The Jew rocks back and forth with closed eyes, beating his breast, sometimes raising his hands. When he finishes, the tourist asks, "What do you pray for?"
The Jew responds, "I pray for righteousness. I pray for the health of my family. I pray for peace in the world, especially in Jerusalem.
"Are the prayers effective?" the tourist asks.
"It's like praying to a wall.
I think that one of the best qualities of Yancey's writing is his honesty in spiritual matters. Anyone who's prayed somewhat regularly to God must understand Jew, and the oftentimes futile feelings that accompany prayer.
In Don Millers book I had forgotten a really cool part where he describes a meeting he had with a man named Ron Post.
"Ron was about to retire from a ministry he had started twenty years before called Northwest Medical Teams. Northwest Medical Teams is an aid organization that sends doctors to volatile regions of the world to help the sick and dying. We met at a coffee shop across town, and I asked Ron... what was the key to his success. To answer the... question, Ron pulled from his pocket a tattered envelope filled with pictures.
For the rest of the meeting the man laid down pictures of people he had met, the first of which was a young Cambodian woman who, at the age of thirteen, was being used a a sex slave to the Khmer Rouge. He told me they had rescued her from captivity and given her a new life filled with the knowledge and love of Christ. As he showed me picture after picture of blind people who, because of a simple surgery, could now see, crippled people who could walk, the starving who had been fe, he told me their names. He knew their names, every one of them. I had asked the man what the key to his successful ministry was, and he told me through his stories the key to his multimillion-dollar ministry was a love of people. Ad I believe nowand will always believe that if we are willing to love people, God will pour out His resources to bless our lives and our efforts.
I think of this meeting with Ron when I consider Christ, who, like Ron, must have a proverbial envelope in His pocket, laying down picture after picture, knowing our names, knowing the number of hairs that grow on our heads, knowing tour stories nd fears and desires. He looks at each of us and feels in His heart the kind of love that would make Him want to come to earth and die so we could be healed, so we could feel the love that is going to make us whole..."
I like that picture of Jesus a lot.