“In him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
During the European Enlightenment of the 18th century, a strong separation can be discerned between theists – those who believed in a God who exists and is actively engaged in the world – and deists – those who believed some sort of God or deity exists but who is not actively engaged in the world, instead creating our world as self-sustaining under the operation of its orderly powers. The deistic concept of God is often described as a “divine watchmaker,” who designed the world, wound it up and then left it to run on its own power.
The God of the Bible is not like the God of the deists. From beginning to end, the Bible is the story of a God who is intimately involved in the world. Yes, He creates the world with His power (Genesis 1-2), but He continues His involvement within the world in general and within individual lives as well. The Bible is, in one sense, the story of God’s engagement with the world, people groups, families, and individuals. As Paul the Apostle says, quoting a Greek poet, “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
Prayer is part of that story of God’s involvement in the world. Prayer is not only the invitation to approach a holy and powerful God, but to interact with a God who is involved. One major assumption of Christian prayer is that God is involved enough in the world and our lives to want us to draw near to Him and voice our praise, thanks, confessions, needs, and desires. As we consider the glory of God, His involvement in our world and lives suddenly takes on deeper significance. The writers of the Psalms understood this, even as David writes in Psalm 23:
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
Lord, the God of heaven and earth,
You know me and I want to know You more.
When I forget, remind me
of Your presence in my life.
And teach me how to understand
Your involvement in the world around me.
It astounds me just how great
and good You truly are.
I thank You for that
and for the gift of prayer.