It’s no secret that Leif and I have struggled over the years to connect spiritually through our personal times of devotion. In the early days of our marriage, we tried a laundry list of things that simply didn’t work. We began reading Oswald Chambers together on January 1 one year. By January 18, we couldn’t even find the book. We attempted reading the same passages of scripture for discussion, but also felt a sense of awkward disconnect. We tried reading the same books, listening to the same sermons among other practices and yet it always felt forced, unnatural, anything but, well, organic. Those images of spiritual marital bliss faded into the reality that growing spiritually together as a couple takes time, perseverance and hard work.
Over the last few years, we’ve found something that works. (And when you find something that works when it comes to spiritual disciplines, do it and keep on doing it!) We sit on the couch beside each other in the morning and read whatever we’re reading. I’m currently enjoying Bruce K. Waltke’s commentary on Genesis; Leif is making his way through The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. As we read, we sometimes hmmm or oooh-ahhhh aloud, signifying we’ve found something special, then we share what we’re reading and our responses. It’s natural. Non-forced. The practice works for us. When we’re done, we each read a prayer aloud from Walter Brueggemann’s Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth (a book given to us by our special friend Troy Champ). Then we spend time in prayer–for our families, our leaders, our friend, our world, and yes, you!–together Â aloud.
Brueggemann has a gift to bring hidden thoughts of the soul to light before God. Over the course of the fall, I wanted to share Walter Brueggemann with you every Wednesday. We invite you to join us for “Wednesdays With Walter” as you dive deeper in your own relation with God and prayer life:
The God we would rather have
We are your people and mostly we don’t mind,
except that you do not fit any of our categories.
We keep pushing
trying to make you fit the God we would rather have,
and every time we distort you that way
we end up with an idol more congenial to us.
In our more honest moments of grief and pain
we are very glad that you are who you are,
and that you are toward us in all your freedom
what you have been toward us.
So be your faithful self
and by your very engagement in the suffering of the world,
transform the world even as you are being changed.
We pray in the name of Jesus,
who is the sign of your suffering love. Amen.