by Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca) Kingston, Ontario May 2007
Prayer is a conversation with God. Some don’t pray at-all. Others limit themselves to Unitarian prayer and they miss out on the richness of prayer with the three Persons of the Trinity.
This year Trinity Sunday is June the third, but most Christians will not notice. Their prayer is mostly Unitarian like the Muslims. They know that the Trinity was involved in Jesus’ baptism, their Christian baptism was "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," and services are concluded with "The grace of the Lord Jesus the Messiah, the love of God, and he communion of the Holy Spirit" (2 Corinthians 13:13). But their prayer life is limited to talking to the Father.
Imagine a child is adopted into a wonderful family. He only converses with his new mother, and refuses to talk to his father and elder brother. They love him just as much, and they do what they can, but the boy’s Unitarian experience will not allow him to enjoy much of what they can give if only he will enter into conversation with them.
What does this mean in practice? I can only speak for myself as I try to engage in Trinitarian prayer.
When I am anxious, worried about money, discouraged, frightened, or lonely, I talk to the Father. He combines in himself all the love and caring that the very best of mothers and fathers can give their children.
I also talk to God the Son. He lived among us for thirty yeas, was crucified, died and rose again to appear to his disciples. When I look around at all the confusion and wars among the nations I remember that he is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is reigning over them and exercises the wrath needed to bring them to their senses. He enjoys it when I ask what he is doing, and he lets me join in his reign in prayer. He also invites me to serve him in his Kingdom work, and I can ask about the special task he has for me to do right now.
When I fail and mess things up, the Son reminds me of what he did on the cross. As Paul explained, "The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus the Messiah" (Romans 6:23) "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus the Messiah" (Romans 8:1). "He forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands, nailing it to the cross" (Colossians 2:13-14). That means I am already forgiven.
When I fear death, Jesus the Son of God reminds me he has opened up the way through. Immediately I die he will be there to welcome me. I hope on the day of my death I will hear the words to the thief on the cross, "Today you will be with me in the garden" (the Greek uses the Persian word paradeisos which means an enclosed garden of delights).
When I ask him about the content of what is on the other side, He tells me I can read the description of heaven as a city with a river running through it (Revelation 21 and 22). But beyond that he reminds me that I do not have the language to understand. "Make a list of all the joys humans experience in this life, and realize that these are just a foretaste. The reality is infinitely more."
Here is the list I began gathering: eating, companionship, walking, dancing, singing, music, love, sex, swimming, sailing, , travel, gardening, creating things, art, drama, sport. Many people enjoy animals, and they love their pets. "Will there be animals in heaven?" Paul tells us "The creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (Romans 8:21). I am only part way through my list, and already there is more to talk about than I have time to pray.
These days, since I was flattened by a stroke, I find myself talking to the Holy Spirit. . She is the Wisdom of the Book of Proverbs (Chapters 1to 9). She loves to be asked, and she imparts wisdom for every situation.
The Greeks knew that the Spirit is the source of all kinds of musical, dramatic, and artistic inspiration. They called her the nine Muses. But He-She is also willing to impart social, political, and business creativity. He-She suggests the articles I write, prompts me when I get stuck, and gives the energy to complete a task.
How do I recognize the voice of the Spirit as opposed to merely human ideas? The Lord’s brother gave a simple test. "The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy" (James 3:17). Making peace, a willingness to yield and forgive wrongs, these are signs of the Spirit’s wisdom.
The Holy Spirit is also keen to suggest where I should focus my prayers. "We do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words" (Romans 8:26). All I need to do is listen to what he cares about, and join my prayers to that. That makes prayer very exciting.
Obviously in the days to come there is much more for me to share in
conversation with each of the three Persons who are united in the eternal love
of God. Meanwhile I rejoice in my limited experience of Trinitarian prayer.