Thursday, October 30, 2008

Red Wranglers and Prayer

In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3

Mark Batterson, author of In A Pit With A Lion, offers an interesting perspective on prayer. He correlates prayer with a cluster of nerve cells at the base of our brain stem called, the reticular activating system. Without this filtering system, we would literally go insane, because our brain would try to process every stimuli it encountered. Think about it -- every scent, taste, sound, sight, and incidental touch -- would have to be categorized and given our attention. It is the RAS that protects us from such sensory overload. The RAS determines what gets noticed and what goes unnoticed.

We can illustrate it this way . . .

We bought a Jeep Wrangler a number of years ago. All of a sudden, wherever we went we saw Jeeps! Why -- The reticular activating system. During the pre-Jeep days, my brain didn't have a special space dedicated for a red Wrangler. But once I bought one, my brain had a new cognitive category. Almost unconsciously my mind came to attention when red Wranglers became a blip on my radar screen.

Prayer follows a similar process. Once we pray we create a category in our spiritual reticular activating system. Following a specific prayer, we will take notice when God brings his activity to those unique requests. We created a prayer category.

However, even in prayer none of us can possibly process and give attention to everything that could be stimuli to pray. We must be comfortable and confident that we can know what needs to be noticed -- or go unnoticed.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bill, It's been about 2 yrs since your teachings on Acts.As I look back, I can say you were a "first among equals."How difficult it must be to lead,pray for, protect and teach a large flock.I thank you for all efforts on this young sheep.Because of it, I continue to grow.I am presently in my own study of Acts with a better understanding of the depths of what you and men like you do. Thank you, Bobby