I was in the bookstore today and picked up a little devotional that in title is denominationally specific but the content can be deemed universal. Prayer & Devotional Life of United Methodists is written by author Steve Harper, who is a clergy member in the Northwest Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and is currently serving as vice president-dean of the Florida Campus of Asbury Theological Seminary. As I was reading the first chapter of this book, I came across a couple of paragraphs that I found profoundly important and I want to share them with you.
"Our fingerprints are a tangible reminder of our individuality and our unrepeatable value in the sight of God. It makes no sense to believe that God takes the time to etch into the ends of our fingers little lines which differentiate us from everyone else and then turns around and mass produces human souls. Rather, our fingerprints are divinely created evidence that we are a distinct and prized self, made in the image of God.
We are never more "ourselves" before God than when we pray, because when we pray, we bring nothing else with us. We are not "doing" anything at the moment, but paradoxically, we are doing the most important thing - we are giving God our selves."
Harper goes on to say:
"Prayer is exercising the muscle of the soul, so it can enable us to live for God. Prayer propels us into the world precisely because we know that the God who "wants us" is the God who "wants everyone." Prayer is not an exhibition of selfishness, but rather the energy of servanthood. The specificity of our soul-print relationship does not isolate us from others or insulate us from sensitivity to their needs. Rather, prayer reveals the loving heart of God for humankind and the broken heart of God for any persons who are failing to be the unique, unrepeatable selves God intended them to be. Prayer shows us that the basis of redemption is God's unwillingness to accept caricatures and counterfeits. Prayer reveals God's love for the whole world through the coming of Christ, and we are invited in the prayer relationship to become disciples of Christ in the service of others."